Ideas across Cultures: Essays on Chinese Thought in Honor of Benjamin I. Schwartz

Ideas across Cultures: Essays on Chinese Thought in Honor of Benjamin I. Schwartz


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Benjamin Schwartz taught at Harvard from 1950 until his retirement in 1987. Through his teaching and writing, he became a major force in the field of Chinese studies, setting standards—above all in the area of intellectual history—that have been a source of inspiration to students and scholars worldwide. His influence extends well beyond the China field, cutting across conventional disciplinary boundaries, touching political science, religion, philosophy, and literature as well as history.

The essays in this book are by scholars who have studied with Benjamin Schwartz. Given the range of his own interests, it is fitting that they embrace an expanse of time from the Zhou dynasty to the present and a range of subjects equally inclusive—ancient and medieval Chinese thought, the fate of democracy in early Republican China, the development of aesthetic modernism in the 1920s and 1930s and its reemergence in the post-Mao era, the emphasis on spiritual regeneration and cultural transformation in Chinese and Japanese Marxism, popular values in twentieth-century China (as reflected in village theatrical performances), the larger issue of what part our own values should take in the study and assessment of other societies and cultures, and the equally broad issue of how we are to address the relationship between Chinese modernization and China's traditional culture.

Despite this heterogeneity and the fact that the contributors include two political scientists, five historians with strong philosophical interests, and three scholars whose writing bridges the disciplines of history and literature, there is a surprising coherence to the volume. Almost all the authors consciously address either aspects of Schwartz's general approach or specific themes dealt with in his work. Each contribution is about ideas and takes ideas and their societal roles seriously. Although presented in the specific context of China, the issues raised in these essays are important to the world beyond China. Exploring them in both their Chinese and non-Chinese settings reflects the power of Schwartz's own work in illuminating a broader canvas of human thought.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674442252
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/20/1990
Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs , #150
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 842,838
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Paul A. Cohen is Edith Stix Wasserman Professor of Asian Studies and History Emeritus at Wellesley College.

Merle Goldman is Professor of History, Emerita, at Boston University and Associate of The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

  • Contributors
  • Introduction Paul A. Cohen and Merle Goldman

    Part One: Thought
  1. Some Reflections on the Problems of the Axial-Age Breakthrough in Relation to Classical Confucianism Hao Chang
  2. A Language of Continuity in Confucian Thought Don J. Wyatt
  3. Yan Fu’s Utilitarianism in Chinese Perspective Hoyt Cleveland Tillman

  4. Part Two: Literature and Culture
  5. The Moral World of Hebei Village Opera David Arkush
  6. In Search of Modernity Some Reflections on a New Mode of Consciousness in Twentieth-Century Chinese History and Literature Leo Ou-fan Lee
  7. The Cultural Choices of Zhang Xinxin, A Young Writer of the 1980s Jeffrey C. Kinkley

  8. Part Three: Political Theory
  9. A “Theology” of Liberation? Socialist Revolution and Spiritual Regeneration in Chinese and Japanese Marxism Germaine A. Hoston
  10. Constitutional Alternatives and Democracy in the Revolution of 1911 Don C. Price

  11. Part Four: Culture and Methodology
  12. Continuities Between Modern and Premodern China: Some Neglected Methodological and Substantive Issues Thomas A. Metzger
  13. The Place of Values In Cross-Cultural Studies: The Example of Democracy and China Andrew J. Nathan

  • Notes
  • Index

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