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The Origins of the Chinese Nation
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Target online publication date: December 2017
  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online ISBN: 9781108164917
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    • Online ISBN: 9781108164917
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Book description

In this major new study, Nicolas Tackett proposes that the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127) witnessed both the maturation of an East Asian inter-state system and the emergence of a new worldview and sense of Chinese identity among educated elites. These developments together had sweeping repercussions for the course of Chinese history, while also demonstrating that there has existed in world history a viable alternative to the modern system of nation-states. Utilising a wide array of historical, literary, and archaeological sources, chapters focus on diplomatic sociability, cosmopolitan travel, military strategy, border demarcation, ethnic consciousness, and the cultural geography of Northeast Asia. In this ground breaking new approach to the history of the East Asian inter-state system, Tackett argues for a concrete example of a pre-modern nationalism, explores the development of this nationalism, and treats modern nationalism as just one iteration of a phenomenon with a much longer history.

Reviews

Advance praise:'Tackett’s provocative and highly original book makes the case that eleventh-century Chinese scholar-officials, traveling back and forth on embassies between the Song capital and the Kitans’ Liao court, came to think of their country not as a universal empire, ruling many ethnic groups, but as a nation state, a state for the Han Chinese.'

Patricia Buckley Ebrey - University of Washington

Advance praise:'In The Origins of the Chinese Nation: Song China and the Forging of an East Asian World Order, Nicolas Tackett shows that 'nationalism' was not solely a modern, Western phenomenon by demonstrating how a form of nationalist consciousness came into being in eleventh-century China, when the Chinese state coexisted with other states on its borders. Elegantly and lucidly written, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the complex interactions of culture, ethnicity, and nationalism.'

Beverly Bossler - University of California, Davis

Advance praise:'Tackett’s study of the formation of a new literati national consciousness in the eleventh century denaturalize the modern nation and fundamentally challenges the belief that nationalism is the unique product of Western modernity.'

Peter K. Bol - Harvard University, Massachusetts

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