Radicalism, Revolution, and Reform in Modern China: Essays in Honor of Maurice Meisner

Radicalism, Revolution, and Reform in Modern China: Essays in Honor of Maurice Meisner

by Catherine Lynch
     
 

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This volume illuminates the relationship of China's radical past to its reformist present as China makes a way forward through very differently conceived and contested visions of the future. In the context of early twenty-first century problems and the failures of global capitalism, is China's history of revolutionary socialism an aberration that is soon to be

Overview

This volume illuminates the relationship of China's radical past to its reformist present as China makes a way forward through very differently conceived and contested visions of the future. In the context of early twenty-first century problems and the failures of global capitalism, is China's history of revolutionary socialism an aberration that is soon to be forgotten, or can it serve as a resource for creating a more fully human and radically democratic China with implications for all of us? Ranging from the early years of China's revolutionary twentieth-century to the present, the essays collected here look at the past and present of China with a view toward better understanding the ideas, ideals, and people who have dared to imagine radical transformation of their worlds and to assess the conceptual, political, and social limitations of these visions and their implementations. The volume's chapters focus on these issues from a range of vantage points, representing a spectrum of current scholarship. The first half of the book brings new insights to understanding how early-twentieth century intellectuals interpreted ideas that allowed them to break with China's past and to envision new paths to a modern future. It treats of Chen Duxiu, a founder of the Communist party, Mao Zedong, and Mao in relation to the non-Communist Liang Shuming and with the Dalai Lama. With continuing threads of nation and nationalities, of peasants, utopias and dystopias linking the chapters, the book's second half looks broadly at the consequences of the implementations of radical ideas, at the same time critiquing our accepted frameworks of analysis. Moving up to the present, the book investigates the effects of the reforms since the 1980s on long-term environmental degradation and on the emergence of a capitalist rural economy. It gives an unsparing view into contemporary rural China through independent films. The book concludes with an analysis of the unshakable persistence of the shibboleth, 'the rise of China,' in popular and academic imagination and argues for the importance instead of taking seriously the twentieth-century history of radicalism in China and its significance for understanding China's present and its future potentials.

Editorial Reviews

China Journal
In this welcome collection of essays, the authors examine many of the issues with which Meisner grappled, from Mao’s utopianism and the role of peasants in the Chinese revolution to China’s relation to American imperialism. This work is especially noteworthy not only because these topics remain relevant today but also because the essays cohere around an important theme: how to understand the legacy of the Chinese Revolution, both historically and with respect to the present.
Lin Chun
The impressive lineup of contributions to this book is timely and refreshing. Together they remind us of what-in a gilded age of dissipation in China-must not be forgotten: an essential critical theorization of China's lost world, in which revolutionary and socialist struggle moved millions upon millions of people who shone in their idealism, heroism, sacrifice and, indeed, common sense.
Marilyn B. Young
This is a volume that does full honor to the historian to whom it is dedicated: Maurice Meisner. The essays, which span the history of revolution and radicalism in China from the 19th to the 21st centuries, raise fundamental questions, not only about the history of China, but about the nature of radical change itself. Each essay insists, as Meisner himself has done throughout his scholarly life, on the relevance of China's revolutionary past to its present and to the present situation of us all.
John Israel
The conference that produced this festschrift was held on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre-symbolically appropriate to honor Maurice Meisner, whose signal contribution was to test the realities of Chinese Communism against the ideals of Marxism. In contrast to some works of the genre, this festschrift is marked by thematic coherence and academic rigor-a fitting tribute to a distinguished scholar and beloved teacher.
The China Journal
In this welcome collection of essays, the authors examine many of the issues with which Meisner grappled, from Mao’s utopianism and the role of peasants in the Chinese revolution to China’s relation to American imperialism. This work is especially noteworthy not only because these topics remain relevant today but also because the essays cohere around an important theme: how to understand the legacy of the Chinese Revolution, both historically and with respect to the present.
Historical Materalism: Research In Critical Marxist Theory
Radicalism, Revolution, and Reform in Modern China. . . .bring[s] us insights and analyses of modern China’s history and contemporary political situation. Understanding China today is a profoundly challenging task. This volume…[is] very much worth the time and effort to read. . . .The work of scholars such as Maurice Meisner and his students can be of significant value in considering some aspects of China’s recent history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739165744
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
03/31/2011
Series:
AsiaWorld
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
260
File size:
930 KB

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Meet the Author

Catherine Lynch is a research fellow for the Institute of Modern Chinese Thought and Culture at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. Robert B. Marks is the Richard and Billie Deihl Professor of history at Whittier College. Paul G. Pickowicz is professor of history at the University of California, San Diego.

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