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Asiatische Studien - Études Asiatiques

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

Editor-in-Chief: Suter, Rafael

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2235-5871
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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
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Published Online: 2017-01-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2016-0024

Abstract

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

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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.

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