Cover: Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping, from Harvard University PressCover: Making China Modern in PAPERBACK

Making China Modern

From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping

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Product Details


$24.95 • £19.95 • €22.50

ISBN 9780674248311

Publication Date: 11/17/2020


736 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

34 halftones

Belknap Press


Mühlhahn chronicles reforms, revolutions, and wars through the lens of institutions, often rebutting Western impressions, such as the view of Chinese bureaucracy as monolithic. He also warns against thinking of China’s economic success as proof of a unique path without contextualizing it in historical specifics.The New Yorker

A major achievement… It is written with clarity and humanity, and draws clearly on a wide range of recent scholarship… Mühlhahn’s book can be recommended in the highest terms.—Rana Mitter, American Historical Review

Innovative and fresh… Mühlhahn’s skillful presentation will make this book a highly popular one.—David Buck, H-Net Reviews

Mühlhahn offers a detailed, balanced survey of the history of modern China, from the rise of the Qing in the early 17th century to the dawn of the Xi administration in 2012… A masterful synthesis.Choice

A truly important book. Not since Fairbank have we seen such a masterful sweep of traditional, modern, and contemporary history of China thoroughly grounded in Chinese materials and perspectives but eloquently addressed to the interests and concerns of an English-reading public. Mühlhahn’s narrative will help people anywhere in the world make sense of the China they must deal with today.—Timothy Cheek, author of The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History

Mühlhahn is one of the world’s leading historians of modern China. A scholar of breadth and depth across disciplines, he has written a compelling narrative of China’s great last empire, the Qing, and of the revolutions and republics that have struggled to succeed it. This thoughtful, probing interpretation is a worthy successor to the famous histories of Fairbank and Spence and will be read by all students and scholars of modern China.—William C. Kirby, coauthor of Can China Lead?

A remarkable accomplishment. Unlike an earlier generation of scholarship, Making China Modern does not treat China’s contemporary transformation as a postscript. It accepts China as a major and active player in the world, places China at the center of an interconnected and global network of engagement, links domestic politics to international dynamics, and seeks to approach China on its own terms.—Wen-hsin Yeh, author of Shanghai Splendor

At last we have a serious introduction to modern China in which the Chinese are the principal architects of their history, drawing upon the ideas and symbols embedded in their own cultural contexts and normative traditions to create distinctive institutions responsive to the crises and opportunities they have encountered. Anyone wanting to understand the importance of contemporary China for our global future should read this important book.—R. Bin Wong, coauthor of Before and Beyond Divergence

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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene