Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

...Since 1988 I also have focused on Beida as a subject of academic study. Without doubt, my experiences there in the 1980s and 1990s have informed my understanding of its past. When I arrived at Beijing University for language study in the fall of 1986, I came with romantic ideas. In college history courses at the University of Wisconsin I had developed an interest in the May Fourth intellectuals and in China’s protracted revolutionary...

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Introduction: Locating Beijing University in History

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pp. 1-11

...Celebrations to mark such occasions are common enough, but this one, attended by some fifty thousand people, was a veritable extravaganza that made it abundantly clear that Beijing University occupies a particularly distinguished place in modern Chinese history. The national media covered the celebration closely, and dozens of new books about the university were rushed into print...

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1. Schools, Politics, and Reform in the Nineteenth Century

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pp. 12-39

...Thinking about Beijing University in the context of Chinese political culture challenges us to understand an institution that has always resided on the shifting border between China’s official and unofficial realms. From the time of its founding in 1898, the university has been neither wholly of the “state” nor wholly of “society.” Instead, its porous boundaries have permitted flow back and forth between those two realms; it has been a place where state and society have come...

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2. The Imperial University and Late-Qing Beijing

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pp. 40-77

...During the optimistic height of the “Hundred Days’ Reform” the Jingshi daxuetang symbolized the possibility of intellectual and political transformation led by the center, but after 1900 its placement in a capital now widely held to be hopelessly corrupt and behind the times diminished its ability to attract creative and ambitious men. For many, the sense that the political center could effectively...

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3. Instability and Redefinition in the Wake of the 1911 Revolution

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pp. 78-113

...The collapse of the Qing dynasty in the fall of 1911 might reasonably have been expected to lead to the demise of the Jingshi daxuetang, given how closely the university was linked to the old regime. When the Xuantong emperor abdicated the throne on February 12, 1912, much of the Jingshi daxuetang’s raison d’être was lost. There was no longer an imperial state for its graduates to serve, and...

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4. Between the Old Culture and the New

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pp. 114-146

...Most of the radical ideas that captured the imagination of China’s progressive intellectuals during the New Culture Movement began to crystallize after the catastrophic Second Revolution among a loose network of thinkers and political activists, most of whom were outside China. But it was not until the late 1910s that those ideas formed the core of a potent domestic...

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5. The Insistent Pull of Politics

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pp. 147-181

...The tension between the vision of the university as a cloistered sanctuary dedicated to academic research and self-cultivation on the one hand, and as a burgeoning center of political and cultural activism on the other, continued to mount in 1918 and 1919. Cai Yuanpei clearly believed that fundamental cultural and social reform was a long-term process built on a foundation of new and reordered knowledge...

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6. Tensions within the May Fourth Movement

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pp. 182-214

...Beijing University was never the same after 1919. The trappings of the Jingshi daxuetang that still existed in residual form at the end of the Yuan Shikai era appeared to have evaporated overnight: the Imperial University was gone and “Beida” had arrived—a new force on the national landscape destined to play a central role in Chinese political and cultural life into the foreseeable future. The students at the nation’s highest school had “awakened” the Chinese...

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7. National University under Siege

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pp. 215-249

...The May Fourth Movement left Beijing University with two overlapping legacies as it headed into the 1920s, one intellectual and cultural, the other political. The fundamental importance to politics of the cultural realm and the political nature of cultural issues had become abundantly clear during those heady days. But the blending of politics and culture raised the possibility that in time the former might overwhelm the latter. If this happened, the university could well...

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Conclusion

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pp. 250-254

...The early history of Beijing University illuminates the struggle by intellectuals to reposition themselves after the collapse of the late-imperial Confucian order for the purpose of maintaining their elite social status and guiding China along the path to modernity. That effort began at the national university well before the May Fourth Movement, and it reflected the enduring hold on Chinese intellectuals of an elitist worldview which held that intellectuals...

Abbreviations Used in Notes

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pp. 255-256

Notes

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pp. 257-292

Bibliography

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pp. 293-312

Index

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pp. 313-325

Production Notes

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pp. 326-326