China is in flux but - as argued by the contributors to this volume - change is neither new to China nor is it unique to that country; similar patterns are found in other times and in other places. Indeed, on the basis of concrete case studies (ranging from Confucius to the Vagina Monologues, from Protestant missionaries to the Chinese avant-garde) and drawing on theoretical insights from different disciplines, the contributors assert that change may be planned but the outcome can never be predicted with any confidence. Rather, there exist creative spaces within which people, ideas and systems interact with uncertain outcomes. As such, by identifying a more sophisticated approach to the complex issues of change, cultural encounters and so-called globalization, this volume not only offers new insights to scholars of other geo-cultural regions; it also throws light on the workings of our 'global' and 'transnational' lives today, in the past and in the future.
Denise Gimpel is associate professor and deputy head of the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at Copenhagen University, where she also lectures in Chinese studies. She has published widely in the fields of Chinese culture, literature and intellectual studies. Bent Nielsen is an associate professor at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Copenhagen University, where he lectures in Chinese studies. He is much published, especially on the intellectual history of China. Paul Bailey, who specialises in the social and cultural history of modern China, is Professor of Modern Chinese History at Durham University. The lengthy and varied career of this eminent scholar is matched by a distinguished publication record, especially on Japan and China.