My first article was published in 1957 when I was a graduate student at Harvard: “Missionary Approaches: Hudson Taylor and Timothy Richard, ” Papers on China 11 (1957): 29-62.
Benjamin I. Schwartz, “Introduction, ” in his China and Other Matters (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), p. 1.
China and Christianity: The Missionary Movement and the Growth of Chinese Antiforeignism, 1860-1870 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963), p. vii. See also John K. Fairbank, “Patterns behind the Tientsin Massacre, ” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 20 (1957): 480-511.
Cohen, China and Christianity, pp. 264-5.
It was a very different matter, of course, in the eighteenth century (and in some respects earlier), when China’s impact on the thought world, decorative arts, and economy of Europe was substantial, as has been generally recognized.
Cohen, “Ch’ing China: Confrontation with the West, 1850-1900, ” in James B. Crowley, ed., Modern East Asia: Essays in Interpretation (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1970), pp. 29-30; the Schwartz quotation is from Benjamin Schwartz, In Search of Wealth and Power: Yen Fu and the West (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964), pp. 1-2.
This was clearly seen in some of the more influential writings of Fairbank. See, especially, Ssu-yü Teng and John K. Fairbank, China’s Response to the West: A Documentary Survey, 1839-1923 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954), and the portions of Fairbank’s The United States and China, 4th edn. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979) dealing with the nineteenth century.
Cohen, “Ch’ing China, ” pp. 29-61; and, as revised, in Paul A. Cohen, Discovering History in China: American Historical Writing on the Recent Chinese Past (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), pp. 9-55.
There are some, especially those who look at China from a global or regional perspective, who might be inclined to argue that, in an interconnected world, “endogenous” and “exogenous” cease to be viable as concepts. This is, of course, very different from the nineteenth-century Western view that all significant change in the “non-West” had to result from the Western impact and be modeled after Western precedents. Still, it is not, in my judgment, a tenable position. I am firmly convinced that, even as we begin to break down some of the artificial walls separating China from the rest of the world (a process that I applaud and directly address later on in this introduction) and acknowledge that influences from outside have shaped Chinese history from the beginning, it is both possible and desirable to identify certain kinds of changes as, in the main, internally generated. I would make the same claim, moreover, for other histories - that of the United States, for example - that have had (and continue to have) important links to other parts of the world.
Between Tradition and Modernity: Wang T’ao and Reform in Late Ch’ing China (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974).
The resulting tension in the intellectual framework of the book is touched on in the preface to the original edition of Discovering History in China, p. xii.
Examples of books with a China-centered perspective that appeared in the latter half of the 1980s and the early 1990s (that is, after the publication of Discovering History in China) are supplied in Chapter 7.
R. Bin Wong, China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997); Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). The work of Wong and Pomeranz is the focus of a recent forum in the American
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: China Unbound: Evolving Perspectives on the Chinese Past.
Contributors: Paul A. Cohen - Author.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: 17.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.