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Reform, Utopia and Global Teleology in Kang Youwei's Datong Shu
In Confucian Concord, Federico Brusadelli offers an intellectual analysis of the Datong Shu. Written by Kang Youwei (1858-1927) and conceived as his most esoteric and comprehensive legacy to posterity, the book was eventually published only posthumously, in 1935, being “too advanced for the times” in the author’s own opinion.

Connecting the book to the author’s intellectual biography and framing it within the intellectual and political debate of the time, Brusadelli investigates the conceptual and philosophical implications of Kang’s ‘global prophecy’, showing how an apparently ‘utopian’ and ‘escapist’ piece of literature was actually an attempt to save (at least ideally) the imperial political order, updating the traditional Confucian universalism to a new, ‘modern’ world.
Editor: Jinhua Chen
The goal of this book is to study the ways in which Chinese Buddhists expressed their religious faiths and how Chinese Buddhists interacted with society at large since the Northern and Southern dynasties (386-589), through the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911), up to the Republican era (1912-1949). The book aims to summarize and present the historical trajectory of the Sinification of Buddhism in a new light, revealing the symbiotic relationship between Buddhist faith and Chinese culture. The book examines cases such as repentance, vegetarianism, charity, scriptural lecture, the act of releasing captive animals, the Bodhisattva faith, and mountain worship, from multiple perspectives such as textual evidence, historical circumstances, social life, as well as the intellectual background at the time.
Xiong Shili 熊十力(1885-1968) was one of the most important Chinese philosophers of the twentieth century, and a founding figure of the modern New Confucian school of philosophy. At the core of his metaphysics is one of the key conceptual polarities in traditional Chinese philosophy: Reality ( ti 體) and Function ( yong 用). Xiong Shili’s Understanding of Reality and Function, 1920-1937 presents a detailed examination and analysis of the development of Xiong Shili’s conception of Reality and Function between 1920 and 1937. While scholars have tended to focus on Xiong’s mature ti-yong philosophical system, which was initially established in the early 1930s, this study explains how that system was gradually formed, providing a more comprehensive basis for understanding the development of Xiong’s philosophical thought in later periods.
Chinese Visions of Progress, 1895 to 1949 offers a panoramic view of reflections on progress in modern China. Since the turn of the twentieth century, the discourses on progress shape Chinese understandings of modernity and its pitfalls. As this in-depth study shows, these discourses play a pivotal role in the fields of politics, society, culture, as well as philosophy, history, and literature. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the Chinese ideas of progress, their often highly optimistic implications, but also the criticism of modernity they offered, opened the gateway for reflections on China’s past, its position in the present world, and its future course.
Art and Literature in Pictorial Magazines during Shanghai’s Jazz Age
In Intoxicating Shanghai Paul Bevan explores the work of a number of Chinese modernist figures in the fields of literature and the visual arts, with an emphasis on the literary group the New-sensationists and its equivalents in the Shanghai art world, examining the work of these figures as it appeared in pictorial magazines. It undertakes a detailed examination into the significance of the pictorial magazine as a medium for the dissemination of literature and art during the 1930s. The research locates the work of these artists and writers within the context of wider literary and art production in Shanghai, focusing on art, literature, cinema, music, and dancehall culture, with a specific emphasis on 1934 – ‘The Year of the Magazine’.
The Movement and its Centennial Legacy
Remembering May Fourth: The Movement and its Centennial Legacy is a collective work of thirteen scholars who reflect on the question of how to remember the May Fourth Movement, one of the most iconic socio-political events in the history of modern China. The book discusses a wide range of issues concerning the relations between politics and memory, between writing and ritualizing, between fiction and reality, and between theory and practice. Remembering May Fourth thus calls into question the ways in which the movement is remembered, while at the same time calling for the need to create new memories of the movement.

Abstract

Exploring, among other things, Lu Xun’s configuration of his characters’ relationships to then-dominant ideological discourses, this chapter teases out heretofore seldom observed or altogether unremarked upon vital features of his canonical works. The chapter is grounded in the conviction that an attunement to the insights internal to a text can expand our understanding of a literary work, its intellectual-historical context, and its author. It affirms the relevance of the concept of aesthetic cognition and the value of a hermeneutics of engagement in the study of modern Chinese literature.

In: Remembering May Fourth

Abstract

This chapter revisits an important and long-standing debate on whether “Renaissance” or “Enlightenment” is a more appropriate or accurate term to describe the May Fourth Movement. The author of this chapter proposes a renewed interest in using “Renaissance” as a conceptual category to evaluate the May Fourth new culture movement since it has the merits of placing this Chinese cultural movement in a transnational context. Through an appropriation of Franco Moretti’s concept of “distant reading,” the author highlights the parallel relations between May Fourth China and other cultures at their respective historical junctures in order to emphasize the multiple and transnational practices of Renaissance. This chapter thus demonstrates how the framework of world literary studies can help us reshape and refresh our understanding of the May Fourth new culture movement within a global and cross-cultural context.

In: Remembering May Fourth

Abstract

This chapter proposes to re-examine the concept of “vernacular” in the May Fourth context. It argues that the Chinese term for the vernacular, baihua, was not a self-evident concept in the May Fourth context, since its meanings were still being contested in the May Fourth period. By tracing the connotations of the term from the late Ming to Qing and early Republican periods, this chapter shows that what we take as baihua nowadays is actually modern invention. This chapter particularly investigates the transformation of the concept of baihua in the May Fourth context by using Hu Shi’s writings as a primary example. The author suggests that concept of baihua in the May Fourth period was not just considered a new instrument or medium of writing, but more as a kind of quality, property, and potentiality that can be used to evaluate or predict the health or life span of any living language.

In: Remembering May Fourth
In: Remembering May Fourth