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INTRODUCTION by John Israel History Department University of Virginia In the spring of 1980 The Washington Quarterly and The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs simultaneously published Ramon Hyers' and Thomas Metzger's article, "Sinological Shadows: The State of Modern China Studies in the United States." For three decades, charged the authors, the mainstream of America's scholarship on modern China had been poisoned by (1) gross misunderstandings of the relationship between Chinese traditions and modernity and (2) a misconstruction of the nature of the Chinese revolutionary process that presumed the historical inevitability of Communist victory. Scholars had produced a corpus of literature that was conceptually misguided, embraced paradigms that were ideologically skewed, and given shape to policies that were politically and morally disastrous, paving the way for normalization with Beijing at the expense of Taiwan. Millions spent to train men and women capable of interpreting China in broad historical perspective had instead left us with a cadre of narrow-guaged specialists, culturally and linguistically incapable of fulfilling their mission. The Myers-Metzger critique is the third academic-political assault on China scholars and their works since the late 1940s. The first was the McCarthy-McCarren attack in the early fifties, the second the CCAS critique of the late sixties. Unlike the witchhunting politicos of the former and the young academic activists of the latter, however, Myers and Metzger were respected and well-known senior scholars. Convinced that the field of modern China studies stood to benefit from the broadest possible exchange of ideas between the authors of "Sinological Shadows" and their critics, I chaired a panel on the Myers-Metzger thesis in San Francisco on March 26, 1983, at the thirty-fifth annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies. In the course of organizing the panel, I spoke to a number of colleagues and found them asking fundamental questions about the views expressed in "Sinological Shadows.• Had Myers and Metzger accurately characterized the state of the field of modern China studies? Did they present viable alternatives to the erroneous tendencies they perceived? How real were the links they discerned between the academic world and the political arena and, again, how tenable were their solutions? Some scholars felt an AAS panel too grandiose a forum for what they characterized as~a polemical broadside of dubious scholarly value. Others, however, agreed with me that, no matter what the intrinsic merits of the views expressed in "Sinological Shadows,• Myers and Metzger had opened up a host of important issues that fully warranted a public airing at the annual meeting of our professional association. Among those who took this view were panelists Paul Cohen, Herman Mast, and Edward Friedman whose papers, together with Myers' and Metzger's replies, we are pleased to present in this maiden issue of Republican China. Ordinarily it would be appropriate, if not essential, to print the object of controversy before presenting commentary, rebuttals, and such. In this case, however, "Chinese Shadows" has been available since 1980 in two English-language periodicals and since 1981 in Chinese. Recently it has been widely distributed, with further "Comments by the Authors" in a Praeger anthology. Major parts of the argument, furthermore, are reiterated in the three critiques and two replies, especially in the essays by Cohen and Myers. Hence we have not reprinted the original article here. [1] Following the panel presentation, participants were invited to submit papers, in revised form, for publication. All agreed to do so. Readers should note that Myers' and Metzger's replies are addressed to the papers as presented in San Francisco, not the revised versions published here. Metzger's panel presentation was delivered from notes which were inaccessible, in transit between Taipei and San Diego, at the time he wrote the present version. In the course of the panel's discussion, there were lively exchanges over questions of meaning and morals. Myers and Metzger wondered whether all their critics fully grasped the arguments presented in •sinological Shadows" and in Metzger's Escape from Predicament. Friedman, charged Metzger, "not only quotes my words grossly out of context but also does not understand what I was saying." Metzger said that Friedman had misrepresented him as an admirer...


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