Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Asiatische Studien - Études Asiatiques

Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Asiengesellschaft - Revue de la Société Suisse-Asie

Editor-in-Chief: Suter, Rafael

4 Issues per year

See all formats and pricing
More options …

China’s New School of Thought-Masters (Xinzixue): An Alternative to Sinologism?

Viatcheslav Vetrov
  • Corresponding author
  • Institut für Sinologie, Universität Heidelberg, Akademiestraße 4–8, Heidelberg 69117, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-01-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2016-0024


As is well known, identity studies have always to do with drawing boundaries. In Western sinological works as in the debates of Chinese intellectuals concerning their cultural identity, there are a number of fields which are again and again demarcated against some corresponding fields in other cultures: Chinese philosophy, Chinese literature, Chinese history etc. The practice of drawing boundaries is not limited to the work of the so called cultural relativists. Universalists, who display a critical attitude towards cultural relativism and advocate the equality of cultural phenomena in the world as a matter of principle, construct their argumentation also on the basis of a crucial boundary, i. e. the conception of their own program – their own academic identity – as opposing the program of cultural relativism. The present study defends the idea that any discussion of questions concerning identity constructions, any act of drawing boundaries, as any criticism against drawing them can be interpreted as a political statement and that they become every time problematic when they are accompanied by an explicit negation of politics or when they are not reflected upon as participating in politics. The focus will lie on Chinese readings of Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) and on current Chinese debates about the issue of national identity.

Keywords: Chinese intellectual history; Xinzixue – new thought-masters studies; Sinologism; Orientalism; Chinese Identity


  • Chen, Xiaomei (1995): Occidentalism: A Theory of Counter-Discourse in Post-Mao China. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Defoort, Carine (2012): “Fu Sinian’s View on Philosophy, Ancient Chinese Masters, and Chinese Philosophy”. In: Learning to Emulate the Wise: The Genesis of Chinese Philosophy as an Academic Discipline in Twentieth-Century China. Edited by John Makeham. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 275–310.Google Scholar

  • Denecke, Wiebke (2010): The Dynamics of Masters Literature: Early Chinese Thought from Confucius to Han Feizi. Cambridge, MA/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Diao Shenghu 刁生虎 / Wang Xiaomeng 王晓萌 (2013): “Hongyang zixue jingshen, fuxing wenhua chuantong – ‘Xinzixue’ guoji xueshu yanjiuhui zongshu” 弘扬子学精神,复兴文化传统 – ‘新子学’ 国际学术研究会综述 (Propagating National Spirit and Reviving Cultural Tradition – A Review of the International Symposium of 13.–14. 04.13 on Xinzixue). Gao jiao she ke dongtai 2013.4: 1–7.Google Scholar

  • Chan, Adrian (2012): Orientalism in Sinology. Bethesda: Academica Press.Google Scholar

  • Fang Yong 方勇 (2012): “‘Xin zi xue’ gouxiang”. Guangming ribao 光明日报, 22th Oct. 2012: 14.Google Scholar

  • Fang Yong (2013a): “‘Xin zi xue’ shen lun” “新子学” 申论. Tansuo yu zhengming 2013.7: 73–77.Google Scholar

  • Fang Yong (2013b): “Zai lun ‘Xinzixue’” 再论 “新子学”. Guangming ribao, 9th Sept. 2013: 15.Google Scholar

  • Grieder, Jerome B. (1970): Hu Shih and the Chinese Renaissance: Liberalism in the Chinese Revolution 1917–1937. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Gu Mingdong (2013): Sinologism, an Alternative to Orientalism and Postcolonialism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Gu Mingdong (2014): “Sinologism in Language Philosophy”. Philosophy East and West 64.3: 692–717.Google Scholar

  • Gu Mingdong (2015a): “Hou zhimin lilun de quehan yu hanxue zhuyi de tidai lilun” 后殖民理论的缺憾与汉学主义的替代理论 (On the Drawbacks of Postcolonial Studies and on Sinologism as an Alternative to Them). Zhejiang daxue xuebao 45.1: 179–188.Google Scholar

  • Gu Mingdong (2015b): “‘Hanxue zhuyi’ lilun yu shijian wenti zai bianxi: zou xiang zijue fansi, jin keneng keguan gongzheng de zhishi chansheng” ‘汉学主义’ 理论与实践问题再辨析—走向自觉反思、尽可能客观公正的知识产生 (“A New Critical Analysis of the Theory and Practice of Sinologism: Towards the Production of Self-consciously Reflected, the Most Possibly Objective and Bias-Free Knowledge”). Xiamen daxue xuebao 2015.4: 1–13.Google Scholar

  • Hanshu 汉书 (1962): Beijing: Zhonghua shuju.Google Scholar

  • Hodge, Bob / Louie, Kam (1998): The Politics of Chinese Language and Culture: The Art of Reading Dragons. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Hutchinson, John (1987): The Dynamics of Cultural Nationalism: The Gaelic Revival and the Creation of the Irish Nation State. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar

  • Lee Ming-huei (1998): “Das “Konfuzianismus-Fieber” im heutigen China”. In: Der Konfuzianismus: Ursprünge – Entwicklungen – Perspektiven. Edited by Ralf Moritz and Lee Ming-huei. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 235–248.Google Scholar

  • Liu Sihe 刘思禾 (2015): “Di er jie ‘Xinzixue’ guoji xueshu yanjiuhui zongshu” 第二届 “新子学” 国际学术研究会综述 (A Review of the Second Symposium of 17.–19. 04. 15 on Xinzixue). Shaanxi jiaoyu 2015.7: 35–36.Google Scholar

  • Lu Xun (1982 [1925]): Zhongguo xiaoshuo shilüe (“A Brief History of Chinese Fiction”). In: Lu Xun quan ji 鲁迅全集, Vol. 9. Beijing: Renmin wenxue chubansshe, 1–297. (First edition: Beijing: Beixin shuju).

  • Makeham, John (2008): Lost Soul: “Confucianism” in Contemporary Chinese Academic Discourse. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Meissner, Werner (2006): “China’s Search for Cultural and National Identity from the Nineteenth Century to the Present”. China Perspectives 68: 41–54.Google Scholar

  • Said, Edward (2003 [1978]): Orientalism. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

  • Tang Tanping 汤潭平 (2012): “‘Xinzixue’ yu Zhonghua wenhua zhi chonggou” 新子学” 与中华文化之重构. Jiangnan luntan 2012.2: 92–98.Google Scholar

  • Tao Dongfeng 陶东风 (2010): “Jingti Zhongguo wenxue yanjiu zhong de minzu zhuyi qingxiang”. Xueshu zhengming 2010.1: 45–48.Google Scholar

  • Vetrov, Viatcheslav (2012): “Zur Dekonstruktion des Un/Gesunden in philologischen Taxonomien: westlich-chinesischer Renaissance-Diskurs”. Oriens Extremus 51: 231–268.Google Scholar

  • Vetrov, Viatcheslav (2014): “Wang Mingming, The West as the Other: A Genealogy of Chinese Occidentalism” (Book Review). Monumenta Serica 62: 389–394.Google Scholar

  • Wang Mingming (2014): The West as the Other: A Genealogy of Chinese Occidentalism. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.Google Scholar

  • Xuan Hua 玄华 (2013): “Guan yu ‘Xin zi xue’ ji ge jiben wenti de zai sikao” 关于 “新子学” 几个基本问题的再思考. Jiangnan luntan 2013.5: 104–109.Google Scholar

  • Ye Jun 叶隽 (2014): “Yazhou, dongfang yu hanxue zhuyi” 亚洲、东方与汉学主义 (Asia, Orient, and Sinologism). Zhongguo tushu pinglun 2014.1: 5–6.Google Scholar

  • Zhang Hongxing 张洪兴 (2013): “Xinzixue yu Zhongguo wenhua chuyi” 新子学与中国文化刍议 (Some Preliminary Observations Concerning the New School of Thought-Masters and Chinese Culture). Guji zhengli yanjiu xuekan 古籍整理研究学刊 2013.6: 79–81.Google Scholar

  • Zhang Kuan 张宽 (1993): “Ou Mei ren yan zhong de ‘fei wo zulei’”. Dushu 9: 3–9.Google Scholar

  • Zhang Kuan 张宽 (1995): “Sayide de ‘Dongfang zhuyi’ yu xifang de hanxue yanjiu” 萨伊德的 “东方主义” 与西方的汉学研究 (Said’s Orientalism and the Western Studies on China). Liaowang xinwen zhoukan 27: 36–37.Google Scholar

  • Zhang Longxi (1998): Mighty Opposites: From Dichotomies to Differences in the Comparative Study of China. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Zhao Xifang 赵稀方 (2014): “Ping hanxue zhuyi” 评汉学主义 (A Critique of Sinologism). Fujian luntan: renwen shehui kexuebao 2014.3: 100–103.Google Scholar

  • Zhao Xifang 赵稀方 (2015): “Tupo eryuan duili de hanxue zhuyi yanjiu fanshi: dui Gu Mingdong xiansheng de huiying” 突破二元对立的汉学主义研究范式: —对顾明栋先生的回应 (Against Dual Confrontations in the Methodology of Sinologism: An Answer to Mr. Gu Mingdong). Xueshu zhengming 2015.2: 31–34.Google Scholar

  • “Decision of the CPC Central Committee on major issues pertaining to deepening reform of the cultural system and promoting the great development and flourishing of socialist culture” (Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu shenhua wenhua tizhi gaige tuidong shehui zhiyi wenhua da fazhan da fanrong ruogan zhongda wenti de jueding 中共中央关于深化文化体制改革推动社会主义文化大发展大繁荣若干重大问题的决定) (2011): “Decision passed at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee on October 18th 2011” (2011 nian 10 yue 18 ri Zhongguo gongchandang di shi qi jie Zhong yang weiyuanhui di liu ci quan ti huiyi tongguo 2011年10月18日中国共产党第十七届中央委员会第六次全体会议通过). http://www.cctb.net/bygz/wxfy/201111/t20111117_285296.htm (12/09/2016).

  • Zhou Ning (2004): “Hanxue huo ‘Hanxue zhuyi’” (Sinology, or “Sinologism”). Xiamen daxue xuebao 2004.1: 5–13.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-01-21

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Asiatische Studien - Études Asiatiques, ISSN (Online) 2235-5871, ISSN (Print) 0004-4717, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2016-0024.

Export Citation

©2016 by De Gruyter. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in