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20th century Chinese Ancient History Ideological Trend

Author: TianXuDong
Tutor: LiXueQin
School: Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Course: Historical Philology
Keywords: Ancient History 20th century Oriental history Skeptical School Marxist historians Gu Jie-gang Doubting thought Shiratori Coogee Ancient History System Chinese ancient history
CLC: K092.6
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2001
Downloads: 674
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The focus of the dissertation is the history of twentieth century scholarship, especially centering on the details surrounding the birth and development of two schools of thought in the research of ancient Chinese history: The Skeptical School and the Constructionist School. Utilzing the method of Historical Materialism, the dissertation reasearches the facts surrounding the rise of these scholarly trends, as well as their relation with social developments.In the twentieth century, the Skeptical School, represented by Gu Jiegang and others, raised a vigorous trend of through skeptical of China’s ancient ages; with bold strokes they cut and hacked at the system of traditional ancient historiography. This movement was not unprecedented; it sprang, in fact, from rather distant historical sources, and had as well a complex contemporary backdrop. This dissertation therefore takes a chronological approach, with a focus on the persons involved in the period. There are sections devoted to explaining the main viewpoints on the research of ancient Chinese history and the influences on the scholarly world of people such as Rang Youwei and Liang Qichao of the late Qing dynasty, as well as Hu Shi, Qian Xuantong, Gu Jiegang, Wang Guowei, Luo Zhenyu, Li Ji, and Quo Moruo of the early twentieth century, and finally Japanese scholars such as Shiratori Kurakichi and Hayashi Yasusuke.A tradition of historical criticism that emphasized skepticism and the distinguishing of apocrypha existed early on in China, with schools of thought from the Song dynasty to the Qing dynasty. From the late Qing, Rang Youwei is the most representative scholar; his Studies in New School Apocrypha and Studies in Confucian Administrative Changes closely and carefully reinvestigated all of the ancient classics. His critical attitudes toward old methods of research played the important role of accelerating the liberation of the thought of China’s intellectuals. It had an especially great impact on later scholars such as Gu Jiegang.As a part of the criticism of old style scholarship, Liang Qichao created a theory of New Historiogaphy, and thus was formed the School of New Historiography, with Liang as its representative; this school of thought brought about massive changes in the world of Chinese historical studies, and had an influential rold in the later formation of the Skeptical School.The creator of modern Japanese East Asian Studies, Shiratori Kurakichi, published in 1909 Studies in the Ancient Legends of China. In this work he brought forth his famous notion "obliterating Yao, Shun, and Yu," a concept that initiated in Japan a trend of skepticism toward China’s ancient histoty. Taking an opposite stance, The well-known Japanese Sinologist, Hayashi Yasusuke, found fault with Shiratori’s viewpoints; their antagonism triggered a debate that lasted a number of years. Whether this debate influenced China’s academic world is a valuable topic explored in this dissertation. The dissertation thus relates briefly die circumstances of several Japanese East Asian scholars as well as the rise of East Asian Studies in Japan.In addition to the content described above, the dissertation contains two main points of emphasis. The first is a systematic discuassion of the influence upon Chinese scholarship of the rise and development of the Skeptical School. The dissertation touches equally upon the roles played by representative members of this school, such as Hu Shi and Qian Xuantong, as well as the scholarly position of those such as Li Yizheng and others who oposed them, and the heated debate that developed between the two sides. Special emphasis is laid upon the social and academic background, main skeptical viewpoints, and scholarly achievements of Gu Jiegang, the most important representative of the Skeptical School. An attempt is made here to make as factual and fair anevaluation as possible of the huge influence made upon the Chinese academic community during the past century by the research methods, scholarly attitudes, achievements and mistakes

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