Introduction

Contested Modernities
  • Charles A. Laughlin

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Entropy Migration Europe Peri Arena 

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Notes

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    Xiaobing Tang, Chinese Modern: The Heroic and the Quotidian (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000). Kojin Karatani has suggested that romanticism and realism were two sides of the same coin in modern Japanese literature; I think the same argument could be made for the modern Chinese case.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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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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