Essay about Treaties and Ports

Submitted By hexiang
Words: 461
Pages: 2

1) The treaty ports were the crucible in which Chinese modernity was forgged—this view places the discontinuities created by Sino-foreign contact the center of the Chinese history. •This can either emphasized a generally positive role for the treaty ports (ie, the economic, social, intellectual, and cultural forces released there caused Chinese reformers to attack the parts of traditional China that inhibited modernity) or a negative one (the unprecedented violence of imperialism impeded China’s natural development into a capitalist nation and demanded a revolutionary response that awakened the masses and thereby toppled external imperialist forces and internal feudal ones). Many American historians come down on the first side of this question; this is a very simple summary of JK Fairbank “Harvard School” of Chinese historians; many also disagree. Chinese Communist historians come down on the second side of this question.

2) An Annales School-style analysis of the long-term structures of Chinse history may show something else: Powerful forces indigenous (such as population growth, inflation, growth of the money economy, etc.) to China were changing China in a fundamental way—these, not Western contact, gave rise to Chinese modernitzation. Nineteenth century contacted influence the way those things were expressed, but did not cause them or significantly alter them. Kuhn “Rebellion and its Enemies in Late Imperial China” and also, I think, “Soulstealing.” This approach is largely endorsed by Pauk Coheng in his “Discovering History in China: American Historical Writing on the Recent Chinese Past” as part of a “China-centered history” that seeks to understand Chinese history in Chinese terms, and from a standpoint that emphasizes analytic precision in its terms. The debate over “sprouts of capitalism” in pre-1840 China is