Lost Soul:

Lost Soul: "Confucianism" in Contemporary Chinese Academic Discourse

by John Makeham


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Since the mid-1980s, Taiwan and mainland China have witnessed a sustained resurgence of academic and intellectual interest in ruxue—“Confucianism”—variously conceived as a form of culture, an ideology, a system of learning, and a tradition of normative values. This discourse has led to a proliferation of contending conceptions of ruxue, as well as proposals for rejuvenating it to make it a vital cultural and psycho-spiritual resource in the modern world.

This study aims to show how ruxue has been conceived in order to assess the achievements of this enterprise; to identify which aspects of ru thought and values academics find viable, and why; to highlight the dynamics involved in the ongoing cross-fertilization between academics in China and Taiwan; and to examine the relationship between these activities and cultural nationalism.

Four key arguments are developed. First, the process of intellectual cross-fertilization and rivalry between scholars has served to sustain academic interest in ruxue. Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, party-state support in the PRC does not underpin the continuing academic discourse on ruxue. Third, cultural nationalism, rather than state nationalism, better explains the nature of this activity. Fourth, academic discourse on ruxue provides little evidence of robust philosophical creativity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674028111
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/31/2008
Series: Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series , #64
Pages: 425
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

John Makeham is Reader in Chinese Studies at The Australian National University.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction

    Part I: Historical Background
  1. The Singapore Experiment and Rujia Capitalism
  2. Developments in 1980s Taiwan and the Mainland
  3. The Rise of Ruxue in 1990s China
  4. Ruxue Studies in Post-1990 Taiwan

  5. Part II: Ruxue and Chinese Culture
  6. Ruxue: The Core of Chinese Culture
  7. Guo Qiyong, Zheng Jiadong, and Rujia Identity
  8. Daotong and Chinese Culture

  9. Part III: The Politics of Orthodoxy
  10. Lin Anwu's Post-New Confucianism
  11. Ruxue: Daotong Versus Zhengtong
  12. From Dubting Antiquity to Explaining Antiquity: Reconstructing Early Ru Intellectual History in Contemporary China
  13. Marxism and Ruxue

  14. Part IV: Distinguishing Rujiao and Propagating Ruxue
  15. Jian Qing's Ruxue Revivalism
  16. Rujiao as Religion
  17. Popularization of Ruxue and Rujia Thought and Values

  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited
  • Index

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