The Challenge of Linear Time

Nationhood and the Politics of History in East Asia


Volume Editors: Viren Murthy and Axel Schneider
The papers collected in this volume congeal around a debate about the ways and extent of the dominance of linear time and progressive history and the concomitant delineation of the nation in Chinese and Japanese historiography. As China and Japan entered the global capitalist system of nation states, the Chinese and Japanese regimes implemented a number of reforms, which resulted in transformations that affected everyday experience. In the face of imperialism and the perceived threat of being split up, the Meiji and late Qing governments radically reoriented policies in order to become wealthy and powerful in the global arena. People not only began to experience time and space in new ways, but elites also were increasingly exposed to Western theories of history and concepts of nationhood, which became dominant. These changes contributed to the production of new types of historical consciousness and collective identity. The essays in this volume each provide a perspective on the complex ways in which imagining national and regional identity in East Asia were and continue to be enmeshed with visions of time and history. This book should be of interest to all those who are interested in nationalism, modernity in China and Japan, global capitalism and the politics of time.

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Viren Murthy, (Ph.D. 2007, University of Chicago), Assistant Professor in Transnational Asian History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He specializes in Chinese and Japanese intellectual history and is especially interested in the critique of capitalist modernity and imagining Asian identity.

Axel Schneider, (Ph.D. 1994, Bochum University), is Professor of Modern Sinology at the University of Göttingen. He specializes in modern Chinese intellectual history, especially the history of historical writing and historical thinking.
"This edited volume addresses a problem which fascinated intellectuals from East Asia for decades...To conclude, this volume is a great contribution to the discussion of the Kyoto School and East Asian Modernity in English-language scholarship"
Zhiguang Yin, Zayed University; The Journal of Northeast Asian History 11.1, Summer 2014

Viren Murthy, Axel Schneider

Time, History, and Moral Responsibility
1. Negativity and historicist time: facticity and intellectual history of the 1930s
Naoki Sakai
2. Ontological Optimism, Cosmological Confusion, and Unstable Evolution: Tan Sitong’s Renxue and Zhang Taiyan’s Response
Viren Murthy
3. Nation, history and ethics: the choices of post-imperial historiography in China
Axel Schneider
4. Reading Takeuchi Yoshimi and Reading History
Sun Ge

The Burden of the Past and the Hope for a Better Future
5. An Eschatological View of History: Yoshimi Takeuchi in the 1960s
Takahiro Nakajima
6. The Campaign to Criticize Lin Biao and Confucius (批林批孔) and the Problem of “Restoration” in Chinese Marxist Historiography
Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik

Recollection of the Past and the Popularization of History
7. Popular Readings and Wartime Historical Writings in Modern China
Long-hsin Liu
8. Figuring History and Horror in a Provincial Museum: The Water Dungeon, the Rent Collection Courtyard, and the Socialist Undead
Haiyan Lee

History and the Definition of Spatial, Cultural and Temporal Boundaries
9. Revolution as Restoration: Meanings of “National Essence” and “National Learning” in Guocui xuebao
Tze-ki Hon
10. Temporality of Knowledge and History Writing in Early Twentieth-Century China. Liu Yizheng and A History of Chinese Culture
Ya-pei Kuo

All interested in modern East Asian History, philosophy, philosophy of history and history of historiography and historical thinking.