Such an arrangement is perhaps unavoidable, since different trends in historical writings have developed parallel to each other in the nineteenth century which witnessed the rise of kulturgeschichte and the very significant impact of the social sciences upon historical writing.
The book reflects recent scholarship in the field and describes the theoretical and methodological developments in the study of political and socio-economic history of early modern China. It develops an organismic-type working hypothesis, the intent of which is to unite political history with eco4omics and the social sciences in a new multi-discipline science of history. The author does not apprehend the withering away of the `historical method' as more and more new disciplines will have joined the effort to study China's long-spread historical society. Thus the author provides increased emphasis on inter-disciplinary utilities in the field of historical research and traces the major forces that have shaped the life of China, analyzing the attitudes of the historians towards the country and its people.
That India's independence has released new forces in the field of historical scholarship is indisputable. Nevertheless, even today the tradition of the past hangs over. For one. Thing,, scholarly writings are still frequently tagged on to the plea for "objectivity", with the doors shut against all controversies and polemics. The result is, often, a complete absence of value judgments. For another thing, the growth of a secular intellectual milieu is being continually stifled by the autochthonous Brahmanic tradition which, like the closed outlook of the Church-dominated mediaeval Europe, is working as a dead-weight on the sceptical mind. I may even hazard that this intellectual climate is responsible for much of the wastage of recent efforts and resources. No wonder that expediency in a society with immature secular intellectual tradition is responsible for the occasional choice of research-subjects in terms of convenience. Obscurity of a subject, or its triteness, is not always a consideration.
Coming to other notable theories on the periodization of China's history, one may be punished if he does not mention the heavy-weight hypothesis of Naito.2 This suggests that a "modern" period began in China through a distinctive change that came about between the T'ang and Sung periods. It was a sea change, comparable to Europe's Renaissance, for it signified not merely the breakdown of the old aristocratic domination but also the beginning of freedom and opportunities for commoners as well as the increasing viguour of autocratic despotism.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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