Questioning the Teleology of the Central State in Republican China

Xavier Paulès, David Serfass, “Questioning the Teleology of the Central State in Republican China”, Twentieth-Century China, vol. 47, n°1, janv. 2022, p. 3-10.

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No doubt the expansion of the reach of the state can be considered one of the prominent features of the twentieth century. Many studies have described this process in Western Europe and beyond. In the case of China, however, there is a marked tendency in the historiography to assume that, except for the Qing dynasty’s lastditch efforts to modernize from 1901–1911 with the New Policies (新政 xinzheng) reforms and a short-lived attempt during the Nanjing Decade (1928–1937), the first half of the twentieth century represented, for the most part, a discontinuation in the process of state building.
It was in order to question this assumption that we organized a conference on “State-Building through Political Disunity in Republican China,” held in Paris at EHESS (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) in September 2018. The idea was to target the Republican period (1912–1949) as one of critical importance in the process of state building in modern China. (source : Project Muse)

David Serfass est Maître de conférences en histoire de la Chine et de l’Asie orientale, à l’Inalco, et membre du comité de rédaction de la revue Etudes chinoises.