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World History and National Identity in China
  • Cited by 2
  • Xin Fan, State University of New York, Fredonia
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Book description

Nationalism is pervasive in China today. Yet nationalism is not entrenched in China's intellectual tradition. Over the course of the twentieth century, the combined forces of cultural, social, and political transformations nourished its development, but resistance to it has persisted. Xin Fan examines the ways in which historians working on the world beyond China from within China have attempted to construct narratives that challenge nationalist readings of the Chinese past and the influence that these historians have had on the formation of Chinese identity. He traces the ways in which generations of historians, from the late Qing through the Republican period, through the Mao period to the relative moment of 'opening' in the 1980s, have attempted to break cross-cultural boundaries in writing an alternative to the national narrative.


‘World history writing has had a strong presence in China throughout the twentieth century, serving as a powerful resource to counter narrow nationalism. As Xin Fan expertly shows, Chinese historians have made important contributions that continue to resonate with the current debate about non-Eurocentric forms of global history.'

Sebastian Conrad - Free University Berlin

‘In this richly sourced account of the development of world history as a discipline and practice in modern China, Xin Fan looks to scholars throughout the twentieth century who sought to connect foreign pasts to their own present. Not only does it tell an important and overlooked story about the way in which Chinese scholarship has understood its relationship to global others; it also offers vivid illustrations of how world history in general might be (re)understood from the perspective of modern China.'

Leigh Jenco - London School of Economics and Political Science

'… This is a useful and gracefully written addition to our knowledge of Chinese historiography … offers a rich portrait of persons, ideas, and institutions.'

Peter Zarrow

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