The seminal text on Chinese scholarship recast for a new generation.
Since its first publication, Paul A. Cohens Discovering History in China has occupied a singular place in American China scholarship. Translated into three East Asian languages, the volume has become essential to the study of China from the early nineteenth century to the present. Cohen critiques the work of leading postwar scholars and adamantly opposes reading China through the lens of Western history. More specifically, he counters the strong ethnocentric bias pervading three major conceptual frameworks from the 1950s and 1960s: the impact-response, modernization, and imperialism
approaches. In place of these, Cohen favors a China-centered approach by which historians strive to understand Chinese history on its own terms, paying close attention to Chinese historical trajectories and Chinese perceptions of their own problems rather than through a set of expectations derived from Western history.
In a new introduction, Cohen traces the evolution of his fifty year career as a historian of China. He discusses major developments in the field, some of which challenge the scope of a narrowly conceived China-centered approach. These innovations enable a more balanced comparison between China and the West and recast the Chinese and their history in more human, less exotic terms. Nevertheless, they still powerfully affirm the central thrust of Cohens celebrated work.
Every historian of China should read this book. For what Paul A. Cohen has done here is lay bare the hidden assumptions that have informed and skewed much American research on 19th- and 20th-century China. He shows that the questions most American historians have asked about the Chinese past, and consequently the kind of histories they have written, have been determined as much by their own cultural biases as by the historical realities of China itself... A consciousness-raising experience. American Historical Review
Preface to the Second Paperback EditionPrefaceIntroduction to the 2010 IssueIntroduction1. The Problem with "China's Response to the West"2. Moving Beyond "Tradition and Modernity"3. Imperialism: Reality or Myth?4. Toward a China-Centered History of ChinaNotesIndex
Series: Studies of the East Asian Institute
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 30th March 2010
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88
Weight (kg): 0.43