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Between 1989 and 1993, with the end of the Cold War, Tiananmen, and Deng Xiaoping's renewed reform, Chinese intellectuals said goodbye to radicalism. In newly-founded journals, interacting with those who had left mainland China around 1949 to revive Chinese culture from the margins, they now challenged the underlying creed of Chinese socialism and the May Fourth Movement that there was 'no making without breaking'. Realistic Revolution covers the major debates of this period on radicalism in history, culture, and politics from a transnational perspective, tracing intellectual exchanges as China repositioned itself in Asia and the world. In this realistic revolution, Chinese intellectuals paradoxically espoused conservatism in the service of future modernization. They also upheld rationalism and gradualism after Maoist utopia but concurrently rewrote history to re-establish morality. Finally, their self-identification as scholars was a response to rapid social change that nevertheless left their concern with China's fate unaltered.Read more
- Offers a broad overview of the main intellectual debates behind reform in China
- Traces scholarly networks from mainland China, to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and the United States
- Illuminates the ideological contradictions between economic liberalization and political control
Reviews & endorsements
‘Realistic Revolution changes our understanding of Chinese conservatism in the post-Mao period. Based on a comprehensive and critical reading of Chinese thinkers and writers, van Dongen brings to life the Chinese critique of radicalism during the critical years after Tiananmen. Lucidly written, acutely analytical, this is a wonderfully rewarding read.' Timothy Cheek, University of British ColumbiaSee more reviews
'Shocked by the violence of Tiananmen and the collapse of the Soviet Union, China’s intellectuals began exploring the roots of radicalism and the meaning - or usefulness - of conservatism. In this carefully researched and wonderfully written book, van Dongen excavates the international conversation that unfolded over the next decade. This book should be in every class on contemporary China.' Joseph Fewsmith, Boston University
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- Date Published: July 2019
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781108421300
- length: 286 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 157 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.54kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Notes on transliteration
1. Goodbye radicalism: the early 1990s
2. Neo-conservatism and doing things with Isms
3. Xiao Gongqin and the 'Yan Fu Paradox'
4. A tale of two revolutions
5. Chen Lai and the 'Max Weber dilemma'
6. Of post-Isms and May Fourth
7. The double nature of realistic revolution
Biographies of prominent intellectuals
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