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Historical Perspectives on Contemporary East Asia

Historical Perspectives on Contemporary East Asia

Edited by Merle Goldman and Andrew Gordon

ISBN 9780674000988

Publication date: 08/15/2000

Historical Perspectives on Contemporary East Asiaaddresses provocative themes concerning the experience of particular nations and of East Asia as a whole. It explores the turbulent process of integrating Asian societies and political systems into a global order dominated by the West over the past two centuries.

The authors show that important changes were already underway before the western advance, which had their own internal logic and staying power. They describe how people in China, Japan, and Korea redefined and defended indigenous "traditions" even as they disagreed over what these traditions were and how to transform them. They make it clear that nationalism was a powerful motivating force in the modern development of these countries, but they stress that a wide variety of nationalisms emerged and collided in the dramatic history of modern Asia.


  • [This book] is a highly stimulating collection, designed to make undergraduates think, but one which should appeal to an informed audience well beyond universities...[It undoes] a fair amount of the conventional wisdom about East Asia in the modern period, showing that there were other possibilities and other options for the development of these societies than the one that eventually emerged...the quality of the writing is uniformally high, making each chapter a pleasure to read.

    —J. E. Hoare, Asian Affairs


  • Merle Goldman is Professor of History, Emerita, at Boston University and Associate of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University.
  • Andrew Gordon is Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 382 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press