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Origins of the Modern Chinese State

Author: Philip A. Kuhn
Publisher: Stanford University Press
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What is "Chinese” about China’s modern state? This book proposes that the state we see today has developed over the past two centuries largely as a response to internal challenges emerging from the late empire. Well before the Opium War, Chinese confronted such constitutional questions as: How does the scope of political participation affect state power? How is the state to secure a share of society’s wealth? In response to the changing demands of the age, this agenda has been expressed in changing language. Yet, because the underlying pattern remains recognizable, the modernization of the state in response to foreign aggression can be studied in longer perspective. The author offers three concrete studies to illustrate the constitutional agenda in action: how the early nineteenth-century scholar-activist Wei Yuan confronted the relation between broadened political participation and authoritarian state power; how the reformist proposals of the influential scholar Feng Guifen were received by mainstream bureaucrats during the 1898 reform movement; and how fiscal problems of the late empire formed a backdrop to agricultural collectivization in the 1950s. In each case, the author presents the "modern” constitutional solution as only the most recent answer to old Chinese questions. The book concludes by describing the transformation of the constitutional agenda over the course of the modern period.


Human Security and the Chinese State

Author: Robert Bedeski
Publisher: Routledge
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Offering a fresh and unique approach to surveying the historical transformations of the Chinese state, Human Security and the Chinese State focuses on human security in contrast with the twenty-first century obsession with national security. Building upon Hobbes' Leviathan, Robert Bedeski demonstrates how the sovereignty of the state reflects primary human concerns of survival, indeed, that fundamental purpose of the state is the preservation of the life of its citizens. Combining political science theory with historical literary, cinematic and sociological materials and ideas, Bedeski has produced a truly original approach to the last two thousand years of Chinese political history, explaining the longevity of the imperial Confucian state and locating the dilemma of modern China in its incomplete sovereignty.


The Origins of the Modern World

Author: Robert Marks
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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This clearly written and engrossing book presents a global narrative of the origins of the modern world from 1400 to the present. Unlike most studies, which assume that the "rise of the West" is the story of the coming of the modern world, this history, drawing upon new scholarship on Asia, Africa, and the New World, constructs a story in which those parts of the world play major roles. Robert B. Marks defines the modern world as one marked by industry, the nation state, interstate warfare, a large and growing gap between the wealthiest and poorest parts of the world, and an escape from "the biological old regime." He explains its origins by emphasizing contingencies (such as the conquest of the New World); the broad comparability of the most advanced regions in China, India, and Europe; the reasons why England was able to escape from common ecological constraints facing all of those regions by the 18th century; and a conjuncture of human and natural forces that solidified a gap between the industrialized and non-industrialized parts of the world. Now in a new edition that brings the saga of the modern world to the present, the book considers how and why the United States emerged as a world power in the twentieth century and became the sole superpower by the twenty-first century. Once again arguing that the rise of the United States to global hegemon was contingent, not inevitable, Marks also points to the resurgence of Asia and the vastly changed relationship of humans to the environment that may, in the long run, overshadow any political and economic milestones of the past hundred years.


A Nation state by Construction

Author: Suisheng Zhao
Publisher: Stanford University Press
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This is the first historically comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of the causes, content, and consequences of nationalism in China, an ancient empire that has struggled to construct a nation-state and find its place in the modern world. It shows how Chinese political elites have competed to promote different types of nationalism linked to their political values and interests and imposed them on the nation while trying to repress other types of nationalism. In particular, the book reveals how leaders of the PRC have adopted a pragmatic strategy to use nationalism while struggling to prevent it from turning into a menace rather than a prop.


The Origins of the Modern Chinese Press

Author: Xiantao Zhang
Publisher: Routledge
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This book traces the emergence of the modern Chinese press from its origins in the western Christian missionary press in the late nineteenth century. It shows how the western missionaries and their evangelical/educational newspapers changed the long-standing traditional practices, styles, content, print culture and printing technology of Chinese newspapers and, in the process, introduced some of the key ideas of western modernity which were to have a profound effect on Chinese society. Xiantao Zhang demonstrates how missionary publications reshaped print journalism, rather indirectly, from a centuries-long monopoly by the state - the Imperial press - into a pluralized, modernizing and frequently radical public journalism. She focuses in particular on the relationship between the missionaries and the class of ‘gentry scholars’ - literati and civil servants, educated via the traditional state examination system in the Confucian classics, who were the prime target readers of the missionary publications. This key group and the independent press they established at the end of the nineteenth century played a crucial role in shaping the ongoing struggle for a modern democratic media culture in China.


Catastrophe

Author: David Keys
Publisher: Ballantine Books
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It was a catastrophe without precedent in recorded history: for months on end, starting in A.D. 535, a strange, dusky haze robbed much of the earth of normal sunlight. Crops failed in Asia and the Middle East as global weather patterns radically altered. Bubonic plague, exploding out of Africa, wiped out entire populations in Europe. Flood and drought brought ancient cultures to the brink of collapse. In a matter of decades, the old order died and a new world—essentially the modern world as we know it today—began to emerge. In this fascinating, groundbreaking, totally accessible book, archaeological journalist David Keys dramatically reconstructs the global chain of revolutions that began in the catastrophe of A.D. 535, then offers a definitive explanation of how and why this cataclysm occurred on that momentous day centuries ago. The Roman Empire, the greatest power in Europe and the Middle East for centuries, lost half its territory in the century following the catastrophe. During the exact same period, the ancient southern Chinese state, weakened by economic turmoil, succumbed to invaders from the north, and a single unified China was born. Meanwhile, as restless tribes swept down from the central Asian steppes, a new religion known as Islam spread through the Middle East. As Keys demonstrates with compelling originality and authoritative research, these were not isolated upheavals but linked events arising from the same cause and rippling around the world like an enormous tidal wave. Keys's narrative circles the globe as he identifies the eerie fallout from the months of darkness: unprecedented drought in Central America, a strange yellow dust drifting like snow over eastern Asia, prolonged famine, and the hideous pandemic of the bubonic plague. With a superb command of ancient literatures and historical records, Keys makes hitherto unrecognized connections between the "wasteland" that overspread the British countryside and the fall of the great pyramid-building Teotihuacan civilization in Mexico, between a little-known "Jewish empire" in Eastern Europe and the rise of the Japanese nation-state, between storms in France and pestilence in Ireland. In the book's final chapters, Keys delves into the mystery at the heart of this global catastrophe: Why did it happen? The answer, at once surprising and definitive, holds chilling implications for our own precarious geopolitical future. Wide-ranging in its scholarship, written with flair and passion, filled with original insights, Catastrophe is a superb synthesis of history, science, and cultural interpretation.


The Origins of the Developmental State in Taiwan

Author: J. Megan Greene
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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The rapid growth of Taiwan's postwar "miracle" economy is most frequently credited to the leading role of the state in promoting economic development. Megan Greene challenges this standard interpretation in the first in-depth examination of the origins of Taiwan's developmental state. Greene examines the ways in which the Guomindang state planned and promoted scientific and technical development both in mainland China between 1927 and 1949 and on Taiwan after 1949. Using industrial science policy as a lens, she shows that the state, even during its most authoritarian periods, did not function as a monolithic entity. State planners were concerned with maximizing the use of Taiwan's limited resources for industrial development. Political leaders, on the other hand, were most concerned with the state's political survival. The developmental state emerged gradually as a result of the combined efforts of technocrats and outsiders, including academicians and foreign advisors. Only when the political leadership put its authority and weight behind the vision of these early planners did Taiwan's developmental state fully come into being. In Taiwan's combination of technocratic expertise and political authoritarianism lie implications for our understanding of changes taking place in mainland China today.


State Economy and the Great Divergence

Author: Peer Vries
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
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State, Economy and the Great Divergence provides a new analysis of what has become the central debate in global economic history: the 'great divergence' between European and Asian growth. Focusing on early modern China and Western Europe, in particular Great Britain, this book offers a new level of detail on comparative state formation that has wide-reaching implications for European, Eurasian and global history. Beginning with an overview of the historiography, Peer Vries goes on to extend and develop the debate, critically engaging with the huge volume of literature published on the topic to date. Incorporating recent insights, he offers a compelling alternative to the claims to East-West equivalence, or Asian superiority, which have come to dominate discourse surrounding this issue. This is a vital update to a key issue in global economic history and, as such, is essential reading for students and scholars interested in keeping up to speed with the on-going debates.


Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy

Author: Benjamin Isakhan
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
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Re-examines the long and complex history of democracy and broadens the traditional view of this history by complementing it with examples from unexplored or under-examined quarters.


War and Nationalism in China 1925 1945

Author: Hans van de Ven
Publisher: Routledge
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In 1937, the Nationalists under Chiang Kaishek were leading the Chinese war effort against Japan and were lauded in the West for their efforts to transform China into an independent and modern nation; yet this image was quickly tarnished. The Nationalists were soon denounced as militarily incompetent, corrupt, and antidemocratic and Chiang Kaishek, the same. In this book, van de Ven investigates the myths and truths of Nationalist resistance including issues such as: the role of the US in East Asia during the Second World War the achievements of Chiang Kaishek as Nationalist leader the respective contributions of the Nationalists and the Communists to the defeat of Japan the consequences of the Europe First strategy for Asia. War and Nationalism in China offers a major new interpretation of the Chinese Nationalists, placing their war of resistance against Japan in the context of their prolonged efforts to establish control over their own country and providing a critical reassessment of Allied Warfare in the region. This groundbreaking volume will interest students and researchers of Chinese History and Warfare.