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REPLY by Ramon H. Myers Curator-Scholar of the East Asian Collection & Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution Before responding to the three panelists, I want to set forth very briefly the major points of our essay. We began by noting that nearly $41 million dollars had been granted for the support of Chinese studies between 1958 and 1970, but we contended, with little evidence, that this amount of money really had not properly trained a cadres of China experts competent in the mastery of Chinese texts and skilled with the tools of a multi-disciplinary approach to understand the complexity of modern Chinese history. Our intent was to advance a new framework by which to examine the key findings of scholarly works, principally books and conference volumes, which had shaped our debates and understanding of modern Chinese history. Our framework was the paradigm, a concept that owes much to the pioneering work of Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [second edition, Chicago, 1970]. Although we did not explicitly define the term paradigm, we interpreted it to mean a cluster of verifiable propositions or thematic statements which taken together conveyed a vision and explanation of modern Chinese history. We contended that if a group of scholars shared this vision and its related explanations, we could say that a body of knowledge had been produced to dominate much of our discourse and understanding of modern China. To avoid confusion about our use of the concept of paradigm, we argued that some scholarly works could confirm either one or more core elements of a paradigm. Further, we recognized that a scholar's findings could relate to only one element but not others. By grouping scholarly works under one or more paradigms, we were not trying to label or denigrate them. We merely tried to show how various studies had contributed to an emerging body of knowledge that many in China studies shared and agreed with. We also thought it appropriate to cite a particular scholar's work if members of our discipline perceived it to be at variance with one or more key elements that were fundamental for defining a paradigm. In rare instances we cited scholarly findings outside of the United States to make our argument more convincing. We did not regard this tactic as unfair, because we believed that such findings proved more valid than those found in a periodical literature which we could not cite because of limited space. It was also possible ··for a scholar to have published works which might contribute to confirming more than one paradigm. John K. 29 Fairbank's works immediately come to mind in this regard. In discussing our paradigm, history as revolution, we identified three propositional statements: 1. A Marxist-Maoist thought replacing a moribound Confucianisn and the weak values of modern liberalism. 2. A new coalition of intellectuals and rural people struggli~g to seize power from a coalition of corrupt gentry, urba~ business groups, and imperialists. 3. Continual economic crises arising from the processes produced by an exploitative land ownership system and the influences of foreign imperialism. These elements conveyed a vision of the historical inevitability o! China becoming unified under the leadership of the Communist party. We used this paradigm to analyze many studies about China under Maoist rule. To that end we grouped such works around the themes of (1) the nature of Mao's thought, (2) factional conflicts produced by his policies, and (3) the functional or dysfunctional effects of Maoist policies and factional struggles. Our purpose was to analyze post 1949 developments by a paradigm positing the interaction o! Mao's thought, his policies, the factional struggles for and against his policies, and the impact of these policies and factional struggles upon Chinese society. We believed then as we do now that very few scholars have been interested in analyzing the dysfunctions in China of this period, and that too many scholars had been carried away by what they deemed had been the functional aspect of Maoist policies. For our second paradigm, we argued that a large number of scholarly works had produced findings that (1) analyzed which prerequisites were necessary for modernization...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5065
Print ISSN
1521-5385
Pages
pp. 29-36
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-25
Open Access
No
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