Contested Modernities
  • Charles A. Laughlin


The term “modernity” was rarely used or examined in the English language study of twentieth-century Chinese literature before the year 1989. For a field defined by the “modern”, this seems ironic, but it also draws attention to the ideological nature of the manner in which Chinese modernity is conceived, particularly in the West, and also, to an extent, in China. That is to say, in part because of the influence of the May Fourth Movement, that the equation of “Westernization” with “modernization” has been taken for granted for far too long; so, virtually every discussion of modern Chinese culture up through the 1980s is circumscribed by the questions of “the introduction of things Western” and “the response to the West.” Even if this were the sum and substance of Chinese modernity, it is clearly a far different way of looking at modernity than is common in the West.


Chinese Culture Literary History Chinese Literature Woman Writer Fourth Movement 
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Copyright information

© Charles A. Laughlin 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles A. Laughlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityUSA

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