In Shifts of Power: Modern Chinese Thought and Society, Luo Zhitian brings together nine essays to explore the causes and consequences of various shifts of power in modern Chinese society, including the shift from scholars to intellectuals, from the traditional state to the modern state, and from the people to society. Adopting a microhistorical approach, Luo situates these shifts at the intersection of social change and intellectual evolution in the midst of modern China’s culture wars with the West. Those culture wars produced new problems for China, but also provided some new intellectual resources as Chinese scholars and intellectuals grappled with the collisions and convergences of old and new in late Qing and early Republican China.
The Cultural and Historical Debates in Late Qing and Republican China
Covering half a century, from 1895 to 1945, The Allure of the Nation examines three interlocking aspects of Chinese nationalist modernity: (1) the quest to balance global connectivity and ethnic authenticity; (2) the desire to balance national unity and local autonomy; (3) the drive to balance history’s place as a tool of political propaganda and as a weapon used to critique orthodoxy and political suppression. By viewing the nation as a cluster of spatial-temporal relations that link individuals to a territorial state, this book provides a different view of early twentieth-century China where the party-state did not have full control of political and cultural affairs, and alternative political perspectives (such as local self-government and democratic aristocracy) could be freely expressed.