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12 Negotiating Cultural and Religious Identities in the Encounter with the ‘Other’: Global and Local Perspectives in the Historiography of Late Qing/Early Republican Christian Missions

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Chapter Summary

For the greater part of the twentieth century, discursive patterns on missionary historiography pursued a rather confined line of reasoning, i. e. their analysis was restricted to a single perspective or 'master narrative' and excluded incompatible aspects of Christian missions: with the sole exception of the 'cultural aggression' pattern, Christian missions were acknowledged as a 'global' phenomenon which exerted a certain influence in the history of China's modernisation. The evaluation of missionary activities was primarily based on their compatibility with various models of modernisation, which were closely tied to fixed conceptions of one national and one privileged cultural identity. This is the case with the models proposed by Liang Qichao in the Republican era, by Fan Wenlan and Hu Sheng in the Maoist era and even historical interpretations following the 'modernisation/Westernisation' paradigm in the Reform era. Hu Shi's main interest rested with missionary charity work and educational activities.

Keywords: Chen Yuan; China's modernisation; Christian missionary; Hu Shi; Liang Qichao



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