Chinese Asianism examines Chinese intellectual discussions of East Asian solidarity, analyzing them in connection with Chinese nationalism and Sino–Japanese relations. Beginning with texts written after the first Sino–Japanese War of 1894 and concluding with Wang Jingwei’s failed government in World War II, Craig Smith engages with a period in which the Chinese empire had crumbled and intellectuals were struggling to adapt to imperialism, new and hegemonic forms of government, and radically different epistemes. He considers a wide range of writings that show the depth of the pre-war discourse on Asianism and the influence it had on the rise of nationalism in China.
Asianism was a “call” for Asian unity, Smith finds, but advocates of a united and connected Asia based on racial or civilizational commonalities also utilized the packaging of Asia for their own agendas, to the extent that efforts towards international regionalism spurred the construction of Chinese nationalism. Asianism shaped Chinese ideas of nation and region, often by translating and interpreting Japanese perspectives, and leaving behind a legacy in the concepts and terms that persist in the twenty-first century. As China plays a central role in regional East Asian development, Asianism is once again of great importance today.
In the twenty-first century, we cannot think about the future of Asianism without turning to the rise of China. Craig A. Smith’s book makes a serious contribution by exploring the genealogy of Chinese Asianism…His book provides an excellent history of Asianism up to World War II, which is important for understanding attempts to revise Asianism by scholars such as Takeuchi Yoshimi in the postwar period, and helps us to understand the resurgence of China-centered narratives of Asia in the present.
The first English-language monograph focusing on Asianist conceptions held by Chinese thinkers, writers and politicians…Smith’s book makes an important contribution to our understanding of how Asianism influenced China–Japan relations in the first half of the 20th century…Highly recommended to everyone interested in Chinese intellectual and political history, China–Japan and China–Asia relations.
The biggest contribution of Dr. Smith’s new book, Chinese Asianism, 1894–1945, is treating Asianism as a product of the dialogue between Chinese and Japanese intellectuals against the backdrop of the global trend of internationalism and pan movements…The author meets the challenge of presenting a balanced picture of an intellectual movement which had once involved many prominent politicians and intellectuals of the late nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century but which has been stigmatized since the end of World War II due to its association with Japanese imperialism.
- 312 pages
- 6 x 9 inches
- Harvard University Asia Center
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