China and the Vocation of History in the Twentieth Century: A Personal Memoir

China and the Vocation of History in the Twentieth Century: A Personal Memoir

by Frederick W. Mote




Frederick Mote, one of the twentieth century's most prominent Sinologists, has written a historian's memoir that uses observation and personal experiences to understand the intellectual and social transformation of China. Mote's thought-provoking narrative distills his reflections on modern China and details change in Chinese historical studies in the twentieth century. Mote assesses the work of historians prior to 1950 and the domination of China by the Communist Chinese, hints at the direction of Chinese historical studies in the post-1950s era, and explores the continuous change in the ways Chinese history has been understood among the Chinese themselves and within the field.

Language training in the Army Specialized Training Program and subsequent wartime service with the Office of Strategic Services serendipitously drew Mote into the study of China, the immense discipline to which he devoted his life. Previously unpublished material in the text, appendices, and addenda document such diverse encounters as the destruction of a Catholic mission by the Communists, Sino-Japanese relations in China in the aftermath of World War II, the growth of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, and a 1974 delegation visit to China. Evaluating Chinese ideas and attitudes toward revolution, modernization, and war, Mote measures the weight and meaning of Chinese historical study.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691144634
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 03/14/2010
Pages: 270
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Frederick W. Mote (1922-2005), whose research interests were China's Yuan and Ming dynasties, taught Chinese history and language at Princeton University from 1956 to 1987 and was instrumental in developing East Asian Studies there. His works include the Intellectual Foundations of China and Imperial China, 900-1800.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Maps VII

Preface Michael Gasster IX

Foreword: The Nature of Chinese History XXI

Acknowledgments XXXV

Editor's Note XXXVII

Chapter I Getting There 1

Chapter II The University Environment in Nanjing, 1947-1948 55

Chapter III Intellectual Tumult, 1890s to 1940s 67

Chapter IV The Field of Historical Studies at Midcentury: The Broad Spectrum of Intellectual Orientations 115

Appendix 1 Systematic Destruction of a Large Catholic Center by the Communists at Hsienhsien, Hopei Province, China 161

Appendix 2 Gu Jiegang and Liu Yizheng 169

Appendix 3 Translation of the Introduction to Gu Jiegang's Chinese History Studies in Our Time 175

Addendum 1 Cosmogonic Myths of Early China and Among Its Border Peoples in Later Times-Keys to the Origins of Culture 179

Addendum 2 Random Recollections of the Junior Sinologues Meeting, Leiden, Mid-September, 1955 185

Addendum 3 China in 1950 and China in 1974: Some Superficial Observations on the Changes of a Quarter Century 191

Addendum 4 East Asian Studies at Princeton—View From the Beginnings 237

Index 257

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