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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the book The Politics of Historical Production in Late Qing and Republican China and its chapters. The book broadens the scope in studying modern Chinese historiography by examining popular and educational histories. Notwithstanding their valuable contributions to our understanding of modern Chinese historical thinking, current studies of modern Chinese historiography focus primarily on two issues: the rise of nationalism and the advent of scientific history. Perhaps most significant and valuable in this regard are the textbooks of the late Qing period, which indicate some of the challenges involved in moving immediately to a historical discourse centered on progressive development of an ethno-culturally defined national community. The book examines some of these challenges. National history matured under the Republic. The book examines the social and cultural impact of this new historical genre to assess the significance of national history.

Keywords: cultural impact; educational histories; late Qing period; modern Chinese historiography; national history; nationalism; scientific history; social impact



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