World History in China: The Twentieth Century

Speaker: Xin Fan
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-9-26 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2022-9-26 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-9-26 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)

World history as a field of knowledge production has a history in China that goes back prior to the twentieth century. In this talk, I focus on a case study on ancient world history and trace three stages of the development of world history into an academic field of teaching and research over the course of the entire twentieth century: the rise of amateur world-historical writing in late Qing era, the inclusion of world history as a mandatory teaching component in the school curricula in the Republic, and the establishment of world history as a research field from the early People’s Republic to the 1980s. Throughout this process, the historians in focus constantly negotiated the relationship between national identification and global outlook in their teachings and research. By examining this process, I show how the separation of world history from national history came about as an unintended consequence of the state’s massive social engineering projects.

Dr. Xin Fan (范鑫) is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York. He is interested in Chinese intellectual history, historiography, and global history. He is the author of World History and National Identity in China: The Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He also co-edited Reception of Greek and Roman Antiquity in East Asia (Brill, 2018). He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, “The Right to Talk about China: Liberal Intellectuals and the Rise of Emotional Politics, 1900 to 1949,” as well as collaborating with scholars in Europe, America, and Asia on several projects on nationalism, historiography, and conceptual history. In addition, he is writing about world-historical analogies. For the upcoming academic year, Dr. Fan will teach at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University. He will also become a Fellow and Director of Studies at Lucy Cavendish College at the university.

Introduction by Tansen Sen, Professor of History Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.

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