China's rise to power is the signal event of the twenty-first century, and this volume offers a contemporary view of this nation in ascendancy from the inside. Eight recent essays by Xu Jilin, a popular historian and one of China's most prominent public intellectuals, critique China's rejection of universal values and the nation's embrace of Chinese particularism, the rise of the cult of the state and the acceptance of the historicist ideas of Carl Schmitt and Leo Strauss. Xu's work is distinct both from better-known voices of dissent and also from the 'New Left' perspectives, offering instead a liberal reaction to the complexity of China's rise. Yet this work is not a shrill denunciation of Xu's intellectual enemies, but rather a subtle and heartfelt call for China to accept its status as a great power and join the world as a force for good.
Xu Jilin is Professor of History at Shanghai Normal University, and is one of China's most prominent public intellectuals. His many articles and books have focused on various aspects of China's modern intellectual history. David Ownby is Professor of History at the Universite de Montreal. He worked on the history of societies in Brotherhoods and Secret Societies in Early and Mid-Qing China (1996) and popular religion in Falun Gong and the Future of China (2008), before returning to an earlier interest in contemporary Chinese intellectual life.
Preface; Editor and translator's introduction; 1. What kind of civilization? China at a crossroads; 2. The spector of leviathan: a critique of Chinese statism since 2000; 3. Universal civilization, or Chinese values? A critique of historicist thought since 2000; 4. After the 'Great Disembedding': family-state, tianxia, and self; 5. What body for Confucianism's lonely soul?; 6. The new tianxia: rebuilding China's internal and external order; 7. Two kinds of enlightenment: civilizational consciousness or cultural consciousnes; 8. Li Shenzhi: the last scholar-official, the last hero; Glossary; Index.