Year:2022 Volume: 7 Issue: 2 Area: History

Walter C. Clemens, Jr.
Book Review: Xin Fan, World History and National Identity in China: The Twentieth Century, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2021, pp.49-51.
Most Chinese officials and academics close to the government maintain that China is uniqueindeed, superior to other civilizations. Therefore, the only history that counts is Chinese history. Yes, there have been recurring patterns in Chinese history, but they too are uniquenot related to any global patterns, such as identified by British scholar Arnold Toynbee. Xin Fan, Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Fredonia, finds that national, Chinese history has gradually hijacked the dominant mode of thinking in Chinese historiography. This book examines how four generations of Chinese historians have tried to professionalize the practice of history in China. In the late Qing period, amateur historians working within the framework of neo-Confucianism explored Western ideas received mainly through Japan. Second, a generation of better trained historians in the 1920s and 1930s sought to temper Sino-centrism with greater objectivity, but the pressures resulting from the Japanese invasions pushed them away from objectivity.

Keywords: China, World History, Historiography, Communism, Nationalism
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