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The Politics of Imagining Asia
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In these groundbreaking essays, Wang Hui questions the reigning paradigms of Chinese studies and China watching, tracing them to their historical and intellectual roots Delineating alternative concepts and practices in Chinese thought and history, Wang seeks not to assert a Chinese difference against universal paradigms but rather to articulate Chinese pursuits of modernity as both unique and brimming with world-historical significance. These essays are indispensable guides for anyone willing to rethink the inherited modes of inquiry about China. -- Ban Wang, Stanford University This collection of Wang Hui's essays is valuable reading for Westerners who want to understand what China's emergence might mean beyond strictly economic terms. A book that deserves attention now. -- James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic A powerful thinker! Wang Hui, China's foremost humanistic scholar, offers a bold and well-grounded critique of the familiar narrative woven between "Asia" and "world history." His broad vision and sharp analysis unravel the logic of modernity and its many contradictions to demonstrate how the meaning of the political has never ceased to morph in recent history and why we must fundamentally rethink its relationship to the nation-state, empire, and capitalism for the twenty-first century. -- Lydia H. Liu, author of The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making (2004) This fascinating book gives general readers, historians and political theorists a way of rediscovering China's valuable revolutionary heritage. Wang Hui destabilizes what 'Asia's' has meant in earlier history writing, and the 1930s 'Kyoto School' acts as his foil as he seeks a new starting point for thinking of Asian regionalism, Chinese language politics, international utopian socialism, and the prehistory of Tibetan-Chinese relations as possible optimistic alternatives to state developmentalism. -- Tani Barlow, Rice University Wang Hui is widely known as one of China's most prominent intellectual historians. He has stirred controversies and has strongly criticized the nation-state-centered and technology-driven paradigm that has dominated recent Chinese thought. But unlike others, Wang Hui has also kept his distance from Orientalist and liberal denunciations of modern China. In this book, he argues--passionately and with immense erudition--for imagining Asia outside 'national forms.' His essay on Tibet, in particular, is highly original and provocative. This is a stellar contribution to postcolonial scholarship. -- Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University

About the Author

Wang Hui is Professor of Literature and History at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Theodore Huters is Professor Emeritus of Chinese at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Chief Editor of Renditions, the Chinese University of Hong Kong's translation journal. He is author of Bringing the World Home: Appropriations of the West in Late Qing and Early Republican China, editor of China's New Order, and coeditor of Revolutionary Literature in China.

Reviews

In these groundbreaking essays, Wang Hui questions the reigning paradigms of Chinese studies and China watching, tracing them to their historical and intellectual roots Delineating alternative concepts and practices in Chinese thought and history, Wang seeks not to assert a Chinese difference against universal paradigms but rather to articulate Chinese pursuits of modernity as both unique and brimming with world-historical significance. These essays are indispensable guides for anyone willing to rethink the inherited modes of inquiry about China. -- Ban Wang, Stanford University
This collection of Wang Hui's essays is valuable reading for Westerners who want to understand what China's emergence might mean beyond strictly economic terms. A book that deserves attention now. -- James Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic
A powerful thinker! Wang Hui, China's foremost humanistic scholar, offers a bold and well-grounded critique of the familiar narrative woven between "Asia" and "world history." His broad vision and sharp analysis unravel the logic of modernity and its many contradictions to demonstrate how the meaning of the political has never ceased to morph in recent history and why we must fundamentally rethink its relationship to the nation-state, empire, and capitalism for the twenty-first century. -- Lydia H. Liu, author of The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making (2004)
This fascinating book gives general readers, historians and political theorists a way of rediscovering China's valuable revolutionary heritage. Wang Hui destabilizes what 'Asia's' has meant in earlier history writing, and the 1930s 'Kyoto School' acts as his foil as he seeks a new starting point for thinking of Asian regionalism, Chinese language politics, international utopian socialism, and the prehistory of Tibetan-Chinese relations as possible optimistic alternatives to state developmentalism. -- Tani Barlow, Rice University
Wang Hui is widely known as one of China's most prominent intellectual historians. He has stirred controversies and has strongly criticized the nation-state-centered and technology-driven paradigm that has dominated recent Chinese thought. But unlike others, Wang Hui has also kept his distance from Orientalist and liberal denunciations of modern China. In this book, he argues--passionately and with immense erudition--for imagining Asia outside 'national forms.' His essay on Tibet, in particular, is highly original and provocative. This is a stellar contribution to postcolonial scholarship. -- Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University
Written by one of the most noted, as well as controversial, Chinese scholars, this anthology offers a unique opportunity for China watchers around the world to peek into and appreciate the complex intellectual world of contemporary China...The book is quite valuable for understanding the nuances of nationalist thinking in today's China. -- Q. E. Wang * Choice *

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