Historical Truth, Historical Criticism, and Ideology: Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a New Comparative Perspective

Historical Truth, Historical Criticism, and Ideology: Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a New Comparative Perspective

Historical Truth, Historical Criticism, and Ideology: Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a New Comparative Perspective

Historical Truth, Historical Criticism, and Ideology: Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a New Comparative Perspective

Synopsis

Three issues essential to our insight into the concept and function of historical consciousness, and the description thereof, form the core of this book: historical truth, historical comment and criticism, and ideology (including the historian's trustworthiness).Taking as a point of departure the workings of these concepts in Chinese historical thinking, the volume carefully draws comparisons with similar topics in the Western tradition. It thus advocates and shows a truly comparative approach that sets the stage for an intercultural dialogue on this important subject.The first comprehensive work on the political and cognitive dimensions of Chinese historical consciousness set against its Western counterpart.

Excerpt

Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer

This volume collects the proceedings of the third and last meeting of the conference series “Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a Comparative Perspective”, which took place at the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, on October 4–6, 2001. The conference series, generously funded by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, Taipei, is part of the “International Project on Chinese and Comparative Historiography”, initiated by Thomas H. C. Lee (City College of New York, CCNY) and supported by the City College of New York, the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, Essen, and the National Taiwan University, Taibei.

This conference series was planned as a new kind of comparative approach which stresses the need to study historiography and historical thinking in the form of an intercultural dialogue. A promising start in this direction was made about ten years ago and has now been made available in published form. As historical memory substantially contributes to the shaping of human beings’ identity— the identity of individuals as well as of communities and nations— such an intercultural dialogue naturally moves beyond the narrowly circumscribed arena of academic studies. It converges with a wider intercultural discourse which is unanimously being advocated to avoid the much-discussed “clash of civilizations”.

Our project gained an unwanted, gruesome actuality from the terrorist attacks of September 11, some three weeks before the Wolfenbüttel conference. Considering the uncertainties of air travel in

For information on the setting up of this international project in 1996 and its activities since, see the website www.chinesehistoriography.com developed by the City College of the New York Asian Studies Program.

Rüsen 2002. It should be noted that this attempt concurred with other similar attempts aimed at broadening the intercultural approach in the study of historiography and historical thinking such as, e.g., Fuchs and Stuchtey 2002 and, with the focus on Chinese historiography and historical thinking, Schneider and Weigelin-Schwiedrzik 1996; Wei Gelin and Shi Naide 1999; Wang and Iggers 2002. Presently, the most ambitious undertaking in the field of comparative historiography is the establishment of the new Brill on-line journal Historiography East and West, jointly edited by Susanne Weigelin-Schwiedrzik and Axel Schneider.

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