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An Introductory Study on China's Cultural Transformation in by Yunzhi Geng

By Yunzhi Geng

This publication examines intimately the elemental trajectory of the cultural transformation and brings to mild the extrinsic stipulations and intrinsic mechanisms concerned. It specializes in the interval from after the Opium Wars to the recent tradition stream, because the New tradition flow should be thought of a pivotal section within the cultural transformation of modern day China. the recent tradition flow used to be a innovative eruption caused by way of the buildup of all of the new qualitative cultural elements because the Opium Wars. Superficially, the movement’s target appeared to be to overthrow the conventional tradition. yet in essence its actual goal used to be to behavior an total “screening” of that tradition. The ebook elaborates a huge number of issues during this context, together with: the ideological and cultural evolution following the Opium Wars; the urgent demanding situations confronted through “Zhong Ti”; the preliminary shaping of social, public and cultural areas and significant traits in ideological and cultural transformation on the finish of the Qing Dynasty; the political disarray and conflicts among the recent and previous ideology within the first years of the Republic; the increase of the recent tradition stream; and the position of conservatism within the transition to a latest culture.

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32 See Hu Shih: “Scholarly Methods of Qing Dynasty Scholars,” Collected Works of Hu Shih, vol. 2, pp. 220–221. 3 Evolutions in Qing Dynasty Ideology, Academics, and Culture Prior to the. . ” Ling Tingkan’s (1755–1809) handling of the Yi Li (Han Dynasty Rituals) is a good example. When describing what he had gained from his studies, he wrote: “The seventeen articles of the Yi Li are the original classics on the rituals. Their manner of writing is high-flown, indirect and ponderous. Upon a first reading, they appear to be tangled and convoluted, but after careful examination one discerns lines of reasoning.

Ancient China’s geographical studies, which had been regarded as an appendage to historiography, began to develop in an independent manner during the Qing Dynasty. Calendrical calculations had come under the direct influence of Western missionaries, but their development also benefited from the thriving of kaozheng research during the Qing Dynasty. The highest achievement of the kaozheng research of the Qianlong and Jiaqing eras was its spirit of seeking academic truths and the related methods for doing so.

Various subjective assumptions and all sorts of misinformation abounded. Starting with the Opium Wars, Chinese officials and gentry had had dealings with the British for 10 or more years yet still had no idea about Britain’s geographical location and size. Wei Yuan (1794–1897) was reputed to be a pioneer among those who looked afield at the world outside China. Yet in his description of Britain in his Illustrated Treatises on the Maritime Kingdoms he stated: “Those three faraway islands that constitute England are no more than a cluster of rocks in the Western Ocean.

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