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Chinese Republican Studies Newsletter ld110" H~rm•n MHI Ill. Drpl of Hi11ory. Univ•rnly or Conny the exrellent quality of the work," l want to apologize publicly to Tom. ~ IMPORTANT NOTICE TO SUBSCRIBERS If an ''o" appPars 1n the upper left corner of this page, it means that we have not received a $1 check to renew your subscription for the 1976-1977 academic year. (Libraries and institutions are billed separately.) We are striving not only to stay iu business but als0 to keep our yearly rate low. To do those thin~s. we need your renewal. Plea~e renew as soon as possibl~~ • Word has it that the special newsletter edition provoked a good deal of discussion last spring and suamer. Two colleagues, Mary B. Rankin and Keith Schoppa, are sharing their reactions in writing. Their remarks follow. ~ CH' lNr. PERSPECTl\'E ON REPUBLICAN STUDIES An historian specializing in the Ch'ing period naturally tends to view Republican China from the perspective of what came before. Hy remarks will, therefore, revolve about two interlocking themes. Republican developments can be usefully interpreted fron· base lines established during the late imperial period. Institutions and ideas should be concretely studied in tenns of the actual Chinese context--which we often have not yet clearly defined. There is now a tendency for new research on both Ch'ing and Republican China to move a1Jay from the study of Western impact towards broader treatment of intern•. 1 problems in which the West assumes a far smaller role. Western-Chinese interaction has been relatively thoroughly, sometimes brilliantly, researched during the past thirty years. However, many o~her questions inevitably have been neglected. So such a shift seems a necessary corrective. 'fhis ratl1er obviou& point ha~ certai.n lc-s~ banal implii.:ations. lf Wt! are lo r~orient rest•arch ll•wards dom£•slic {artors 1 we must b£"comi" more familiar with ideas. terruinologit·s, !.l•Ci.1l altitudl.'s and pol!tic.11 Hitualiont> that are rc1nt1vt·ly remov•·d from Western expcr1~nces. H~11c~ tl1ey are more difficltlt fr us to as~ess than are questions involving Chinese rt'actions to idtas anJ infititutions with which we are already familiar. In th~ process we must reconsider interpretations of such terms a~ 11 pro~rf•ss!vt:," 0 L-onnervalive, 11 or "revolutionarv" within the Chinese context. Pronouncements on thif::i suh1ect have been too much colored by the association of progress and newn~ss \olith varied ideas and institutions derived from the West--a view put forth by commentators ran~ing from British diplomats to Hav Fourth iconoclasts. Part of this effort will Involve revising vi""s of the impact of imperialism on China. I tend to agree wt th Rawski that in many caseB .internal facrors were more important than forei~n ones. lrunically, ai1nilar emphasis on internal facrors could open more of a ga1) between Ch'Jng and l\q111lditan Dtudit·s~ StudPnts of tl.11· Ch'tnp, must becomP mort' familiar with verv laq·,t~ bo studying the Republic have more than enoug,h problems of that period to occupy their time, and ar1· understandably concerned witl1 questions relatin~ to th~ future establishment of tl1C' PRC. Nonetheless, tht~re seem to l-ie mRnv reasons for historians to follow the l~ad of economists and sociologists, and to treat at least the first two decades of the Republic as "post-imperial.u lf orie does so, there are any number of ne\ol themes tl1at t·an relate re~earch on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the sam~ 'Way that the theme of Western impact did in the past. Philip Kuhn is folloWin~ one such line of research on local ~overnment. The topic of ref~rmism illustrates how views of even a muct1 studied sul1.iect t·an b~ changed by shifting emphasis from external to internal factors. 1 Reform in ninetrenth- . cehtury China has been mainly defined in the context of t~1e official self-stren~t)iening and yang-wu movements, the influence of treaty ports, and the gradual acceptance of Western political theories by Chinese scholar~. New, and still largelv unpublished, research gives much...


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