In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

-63 . Frederick Hakeman, Jr., History and Will, University of California Press, 1973, p. 83. 4. Chow Tse-tsung, Research Guide to the May Fourth Movement. I owe this reference to Barry Keenan. * Mary B. Rankin Washington, D.C. * * My comments on the useful and suggestive essays in the April 1976 issue are of two kinds: general additional suggestions about the future directions of research and specific remarks on several points made by Professors Eastman and Kapp. I enthusiastically agree that the Republican period should not be seen as a discrete historical period, that the dynamics of the era can be understood only if it is seen in relation to what preceded and what followed it. Thus, Professor Kapp's suggestion that "we need more cross-temporal work" and his intriguing list of research areas hit at a crucial point. I would like to broaden this exhortation by calling for (1) comparisons of the late-Ch'ing and Republican periods with other eras of dynastic collapse and post-collapse periods and (2) comparisons with other "developing" states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Regarding the first, it seems to me that too few historians have done explicitly comparative work within Chinese history itself. Do common elements or dynamics inhere in the collapse of the T'ang-Five Dynasties period and the collapse of the Ch'ingRepublican period? What light might the fall of the Ming and rise of the Ch'ing cast on dynamics of the Republican era? Do these earlier periods, at the least, suggest elements or variables that historians of the Republican period may be overlooking? Recent conversations with Professor Robert Somers concerning the T'ang and Professor Jerry Dennerline about the Ming suggest that scholars interested in the Republican period may find comparison with these earlier periods profitable, especially regarding such problems as elites and their adaptation to change, elites and bureaucratization, center-provincial linkages, and political integration. The devolution of authority to local elites seems to me particularly appropriate for comparison. 1 Comparison might, for example, shed light on such debatable hypotheses as the contention that "villagers in the twentieth century became morally confused." Didn't the same evidences of social and moral crisis noted in the twentieth century in rural areas (p. 5) exist in similar periods in the past? What real contribution, then, does this assertion have for our understanding of Republican China? Granted, the impact of the West and consequent changes made the problems China faced in the twentieth century seem different not only in degree but in kind. If, however, the historian is to see Chinese history as of one piece (and I think he must), then comparison of similar periods of disintegration and integration (to use Professor Eastman's paradigm) is essential. Such comparative work will obviously necessitate the collaborative work suggested by Professor Kapp. My second suggestion necessitates even "grander" collaboration by moving beyond the China field into dialogue with other social scientists studying problems of developing states. To this point, very little comparative work of this sort has been done, except with Japan--and that generally to show why Japan "succeeded" and China "failed." China, as was the case with other developing states, looked to Western political models. What problems did China share with those states in trying to adapt Western models to traditional institutions and values? How did elites react, and what type of new elites -7were formed? What was the relationship between "primordial loyalties" and loyalty to new political identifications? What similarities or differences does one see in changes in the social structure? Lest the cry go up that historians of China have only begun to study the Kepublican period in depth and that cross-cultural comparisons would be premature at this point, I would suggest that such comparisons would raise additional questions we should be asking and approaches or methods we should be using. Comparisons with a formerly strong empire as it began to "modernize"--such as the Ottoman--seem to me a possibly fruitful area for comparison, though there are undoubtedly also others that might offer "alternative approaches • . . of value in coping with new findings" in the Republican period. 2 If the historian is to see...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1940-5065
Print ISSN
1521-5385
Pages
pp. 6-8
Launched on MUSE
2021-05-25
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.