Evolving Perspectives on the Chinese Past
Routledge – 2003 – 240 pages
This volume contains a number of articles on modern Chinese history and historiography written by one of the leading academic experts on the subject. The author provides a critique of older approaches to nineteenth-century history and offers powerful reinterpretations of such key events in the recent history of China as the boxer rebellion, Mao's ascension to power in 1949, and the process of political and economic reform in the post-Mao era. This is a strong collection which will be of enormous interest to scholars of East Asian history.
'His discussion of the concepts of historical writing is thought-provoking and represents a signal reminder to the field that good history always balances the empirical with deep reflection.' - Pacific Affairs
Review in The China Quarterly 2004
1. Introduction: China unbound 2. Wang Tao in a Changing World 3. Moving Beyond "Tradition and Modernity" 3. New Perspectives on the Boxers 4. Boxers, Christians and the Gods: The Boxer conflict of 1900 as a religious war 5. Ambiguities of a Watershed Date: The 1949 divide in Chinese history 6. Remembering and Forgetting National Humiliation in Twentieth Century China 7. Revisiting Discovering History in China 8. Three Ways of Knowing the Past
Paul A Cohen is Edith Stix Wasserman Professor of Asian Studies and History, Emeritus, Wellesley College and an Associate at the Fairbank Centre for East Asian Research at Harvard University. He has published widely on Chinese History, including the award-winning History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience and Myth (1997) and Discovering History in China: American Historical Writing on the Recent Chinese Past (1984).