China Unbound: Evolving Perspectives on the Chinese Past

By Paul A. Cohen | Go to book overview

Introduction

China unbound

Putting together a volume of my writings, spanning a publishing career now stretching to almost a half-century, 1 has been fascinating in a number of ways. For one thing, it has involved rereading things that in some cases I hadn’t laid eyes on for decades, reminding myself, sometimes happily, sometimes not, of where I was intellectually at various points in my evolution as a historian. For another, it has afforded me the opportunity to play historian to myself, identifying some themes - my teacher Benjamin Schwartz referred to them as “underlying persistent preoccupations” 2 - that have endured from the beginning of my writing life right through to the present, although taking different forms at different times, and others that have emerged at one point or another but weren’t there at the outset. In other words, the exercise has enabled me to gain a clearer picture of how my thinking has changed over time and, equally important, how it hasn’t.

Although most of my scholarly work has focused on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and has therefore, almost inevitably, dealt in one way or another with the interactions between China and the West (or a Western-influenced Japan), an abiding concern throughout has been my determination to get inside China, to reconstruct Chinese history as far as possible as the Chinese themselves experienced it rather than in terms of what people in the West thought was important, natural, or normal. I wanted, in short, to move beyond approaches to the Chinese past that bore a heavy burden of Eurocentric or Western-centric preconceptions. An early example of this was my first book, China and Christianity, in the preface to which I explicitly distanced myself from the older approach to China missions, with its focus “on missions history, not on Chinese history. With the coming of age of Chinese studies in the postwar era, “the inadequacies of this old Western-centered approach” had become apparent and a new approach had been suggested - the pioneer here was another of my mentors, John Fairbank - that was “more concerned with understanding and evaluating the role played by Christian missions in Chinese history. 3 It was this approach that I adopted in the book.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
China Unbound: Evolving Perspectives on the Chinese Past
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 228

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.