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Cosmopolitan Difference: Critique Of Imperialism And Debating “Chinahands”

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Chapter Summary

To American public at large, Lin Yutang was most well-known as a wise and witty "Chinese philosopher" introducing Chinese cultural wisdom to America. After Lin Yutang achieved his American success with his cultural bestsellers such as My Country and My People and The Importance of Living, he quickly turned his fame and status into use for political activism. Lin's political passion during the wartime 1940s consists of two interrelated dimensions of liberal cosmopolitan practices: critique of Western imperialism and defense of liberalism in regards to American representation of China. By the 1940s, American representations of China have become increasingly a special enterprise carried out by a host of "Chinahands". What counts as a "Chinahand" is his first-hand experience and knowledge about China. Lin's debate with American Chinahands in the 1940s raises a number of intriguing and significant issues concerning cosmopolitan politics.

Keywords: Chinahands; Lin Yutang's cosmopolitan politics; Western imperialism



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