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    Møller, Jørgen and Skaaning, Svend-Erik 2018. The Ulysses Principle: A Criterial Framework for Reducing Bias When Enlisting the Work of Historians. Sociological Methods & Research, p. 004912411876910.

    Møller, Jørgen 2016. Composite and Loose Concepts, Historical Analogies, and the Logic of Control in Comparative Historical Analysis. Sociological Methods & Research, Vol. 45, Issue. 4, p. 651.

  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008



In their general introduction to the first volume of the Cambridge History of China (The Ch’in and Han Empires), John K. Fairbank and Denis Twitchett, general editors of the series, explained why, when they were planning the series in the 1960s, they had felt obliged to start their coverage with the first empires, omitting earlier developments. After noting the transformation brought about by archaeological discoveries, they wrote:

This flood of new information has changed our view of history repeatedly, and there is not yet any generally accepted synthesis of this new evidence and the traditional written record. In spite of repeated efforts to plan and produce a volume or volumes that would summarize the present state of our knowledge of early China, it has so far proved impossible to do so.

However, by the time that first volume was published (1986), some twenty years after Fairbank and Twitchett had initiated the Cambridge History of China project, the “flood of new information” that they mentioned had already revitalized the study of ancient China. A large number of scholars, both in East Asia and in the West, had been drawn to consider the new archaeological evidence and, in its light, to reconsider China’s traditional written record and many of the historiographical assumptions based there on. In the light of these developments in the field, and with the active encouragement of Denis Twitchett, Cambridge University Press determined to repair the omission, the result being the present Cambridge History of Ancient China.

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