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Väst om öst : Kinaforskning och kinasyn under 1800- och 1900-talen

Hägerdal, Hans (1996) In Bibliotheca historica Lundensis 87.
Abstract
The point of departure of the thesis is the ongoing debate on Orientalism initiated by Edward Said, discussed here in the context of the Western image of China. In the view of Western observers, China has frequently played the role of the Other . Compared to the negative sense that Said and others have given to Orientalism in recent years, as a mode of dominating an arbitrarily defined "Orient", China is traditionally well-defined by its own scholarly tradition. The ties between Chinese learning and self-images and Western scholarship on China's civilisation (i.e., Sinology) might also be stronger than such ties in other Oriental regions. Now, the present thesis explores the functioning and approaches of Western Sinology vis-a-vis its... (More)
The point of departure of the thesis is the ongoing debate on Orientalism initiated by Edward Said, discussed here in the context of the Western image of China. In the view of Western observers, China has frequently played the role of the Other . Compared to the negative sense that Said and others have given to Orientalism in recent years, as a mode of dominating an arbitrarily defined "Orient", China is traditionally well-defined by its own scholarly tradition. The ties between Chinese learning and self-images and Western scholarship on China's civilisation (i.e., Sinology) might also be stronger than such ties in other Oriental regions. Now, the present thesis explores the functioning and approaches of Western Sinology vis-a-vis its object, contrasting the occurrance of Orientalist features in sinological writings (exotism, feeling of positional superiority, a persistant intellectual genealogy, and the acceptence of a Western discourse by indigenous scholars) with a process of professionalisation (forming of a discipline, specialisation, development of method, degree of openness towards academic surrounding). The investigation is built upon three main pillars. Firstly, a prosopographic study of Sinologists reveals a number of patterns as regards choice of study, background, problems of research etc. Secondly, institutional developments of leading Western academic regions are surveyed. Thirdly, an in-depth study is undertaken on scholarly articles on old Chinese history, where three periods of historiographic development are systematically compared (1900-10,1935-45,1970-80). Here, the thesis focuses on method, theoretical inspiration, perspective, values, and extra-scientific influences. It turns out that Orientalist features are clearly discernible in all three periods, though they are strongly outspoken only in the first one. Some types of biases (like unreflected comparativism) may actually increase over time. Still, a strong current of professionalisation, making use also of indigenous scholarship, has tended to dominate more and more, in the process eliminating much of the power of Orientalism in Said's sense. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • unknown], [unknown
alternative title
The West on the East : China research and China images in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Sinology, discursive formation, the Other, positional superiority, intellectual genealogy, process of professionalisation, Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914), Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914), Nutidshistoria (från 1914), Contemporary history (since 1914), Orientalism
in
Bibliotheca historica Lundensis
volume
87
pages
361 pages
publisher
Lund University Press
defense location
Historiska institutionen, sal 3
defense date
1996-03-30 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN: LUHFDA/HFHI-1995/1076-SE+361
ISSN
0519-9700
ISBN
91-7966-361-3
language
Swedish
LU publication?
no
id
91f8757f-de96-4cbc-9b32-4254b73b8dec (old id 17575)
date added to LUP
2007-05-24 10:06:11
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:58
@phdthesis{91f8757f-de96-4cbc-9b32-4254b73b8dec,
  abstract     = {The point of departure of the thesis is the ongoing debate on Orientalism initiated by Edward Said, discussed here in the context of the Western image of China. In the view of Western observers, China has frequently played the role of the Other . Compared to the negative sense that Said and others have given to Orientalism in recent years, as a mode of dominating an arbitrarily defined "Orient", China is traditionally well-defined by its own scholarly tradition. The ties between Chinese learning and self-images and Western scholarship on China's civilisation (i.e., Sinology) might also be stronger than such ties in other Oriental regions. Now, the present thesis explores the functioning and approaches of Western Sinology vis-a-vis its object, contrasting the occurrance of Orientalist features in sinological writings (exotism, feeling of positional superiority, a persistant intellectual genealogy, and the acceptence of a Western discourse by indigenous scholars) with a process of professionalisation (forming of a discipline, specialisation, development of method, degree of openness towards academic surrounding). The investigation is built upon three main pillars. Firstly, a prosopographic study of Sinologists reveals a number of patterns as regards choice of study, background, problems of research etc. Secondly, institutional developments of leading Western academic regions are surveyed. Thirdly, an in-depth study is undertaken on scholarly articles on old Chinese history, where three periods of historiographic development are systematically compared (1900-10,1935-45,1970-80). Here, the thesis focuses on method, theoretical inspiration, perspective, values, and extra-scientific influences. It turns out that Orientalist features are clearly discernible in all three periods, though they are strongly outspoken only in the first one. Some types of biases (like unreflected comparativism) may actually increase over time. Still, a strong current of professionalisation, making use also of indigenous scholarship, has tended to dominate more and more, in the process eliminating much of the power of Orientalism in Said's sense.},
  author       = {Hägerdal, Hans},
  isbn         = {91-7966-361-3},
  issn         = {0519-9700},
  keyword      = {Sinology,discursive formation,the Other,positional superiority,intellectual genealogy,process of professionalisation,Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914),Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914),Nutidshistoria (från 1914),Contemporary history (since 1914),Orientalism},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {361},
  publisher    = {Lund University Press},
  series       = {Bibliotheca historica Lundensis},
  title        = {Väst om öst : Kinaforskning och kinasyn under 1800- och 1900-talen},
  volume       = {87},
  year         = {1996},
}