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Rethinking the Temporalization of Space in Early Republican China: Liang Shuming's Eastern and Western Cultures and Their Philosophies

Major, Philippe. (2017) Rethinking the Temporalization of Space in Early Republican China: Liang Shuming's Eastern and Western Cultures and Their Philosophies. International Communication of Chinese Culture, 4 (2). pp. 171-185.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/73277/

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Abstract

This article discusses the temporalization of space central to the mainstream discourse of European modernity: a discourse which hierarchized all cultural spaces into a temporal narrative enabling Europe’s self-portrayal as the emancipatory future of humanity. This discourse created a gap between the perceived particularism of non-European cultures (seen as traditional) and the universalism of a modernity associated with the contemporary cultures of Europe and North America, while portraying modernization as a passage from the former to the latter. Chinese intellectuals who adopted this metanarrative therefore faced the following challenge: how can Chinese particularism be adapted to a culture of modernity regarded as universal? While May Fourth iconoclasts answered this question by simply rejecting the idea that an accommodation between Chinese particularism and modern universalism was possible, other intellectuals attempted to argue that at least some aspects of Chinese culture could still be of value within the context of modern universalism. This article discusses an interesting instance of such an attempt at negotiating the perceived tension between the modern discourse of universalism and the particularism of Chinese culture, as provided by Liang Shuming in Eastern and Western Cultures and Their Philosophies. This work attempted to show that Chinese culture could still be of value within the context of modernity by providing a new metanarrative which peripherized the role of Western culture in the process of modernization. This article suggests, however, that by adopting a portrayal of modernization as a passage from particularism to universalism, Chinese culture could be reauthorized, within Liang’s metanarrative, only at the cost of being de-complexified, homogenized, and de-historicized; only at the cost of being no longer Chinese.
Faculties and Departments:08 Cross-disciplinary Subjects > Europainstitut > Europainstitut > European Global Studies (Weber)
UniBasel Contributors:Major, Philippe
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:2197-4233
e-ISSN:2197-4241
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:05 Feb 2020 08:29
Deposited On:05 Feb 2020 08:29

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