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Reinventing Modern ChinaImagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing$
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Huaiyin Li

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836085

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836085.001.0001

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Master Narratives in Crisis

Master Narratives in Crisis

(p.236) Chapter 8 Master Narratives in Crisis
Reinventing Modern China

Huaiyin Li

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter looks at three developments in history writing that became conspicuous around the turn of the twenty-first century. The first is the decline of the revolutionary narrative, because of its obsoleteness in an age when capitalist reform and liberal values prevailed, and also because of relentless challenges from modernization theorists and historians. The second is the emergence of a new generation of Chinese historians who showed a growing interest in social and cultural histories at local or regional levels under the influence of theories and methodologies borrowed from the West. The third is the effort by a group of historians to reconstruct the “true realities” of some of the critical events in twentieth-century China by taking advantage of newly available archives and documents; their findings frequently challenged the version of stories endorsed by the party-state.

Keywords:   history writing, twenty-first century China, revolutionary narrative, social history, cultural history, history reconstruction, master narrative, historical realities

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