Chapter

Introduction: Locating Beijing University in History

Timothy B. Weston

in The Power of Position

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520237674
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929906 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520237674.003.0001
Introduction: Locating Beijing University in History

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Beijing University occupies a particularly distinguished place in modern Chinese history. This study is constructed around four major contentions. The first of these is that Beijing University's early history provides an ideal space in which to study how humanistic intellectuals worked to reposition themselves during a period of profound change and uncertainty. The second is that the complexity of Beida's history has been obscured by the historiography on the May Fourth Movement. The next contention is that the May Fourth Movement, which was informed by conservative instincts in addition to the more familiar and far-better-studied radical ones, grows out of a focus on political culture. The last is that Beida's history is most profitably studied in the context of scholarship which is sensitive to spatial variation in China. The cultural power of the middle class significantly challenged the rationalistic May Fourth approach to the remaking of Chinese society.

Keywords: Beijing University; Chinese history; Beida; May Fourth Movement; historiography; cultural power; Chinese society

Chapter.  4544 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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