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Discours de l’esprit, corps et culture dans la Chine moderne


Vuilleumier, V (2011). Discours de l’esprit, corps et culture dans la Chine moderne. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 65(1):265-286.

Abstract

This paper presents my postdoctoral research, currently in progress. In modern China (late Qing and Republican era), the body and the spirit are used as concepts in a wide range of discourses: political essays, manifestos, thoughts on literature, or on aesthetics. They deal with issues of culturalism and identity: in some cases for example, China is described as a “spiritual culture”, whereas the West is identified with its “material civilization”. Furthermore, the “progressive” as well as the “conservative” modern Chinese authors, calling either for Westernization or a “reconstruction” of the Chinese tradition, all anyhow asserted the primacy of the “spirit”. These distinctions, as well as the modern concept of “culture” were mainly imported from the West and Japan. Nevertheless, this “discourse of the spirit” also pursues a Chinese intellectual tradition of its own, such as “Neo-Confucianism” or “Consciousness Only” Buddhism. A further question would be to replace this Chinese modern discourse of the spirit in a global perspective: in modern times, some intellectuals in other countries facing modernization also developed a kind of “spiritualist” assertion of their renewed traditions and cultures.

This paper presents my postdoctoral research, currently in progress. In modern China (late Qing and Republican era), the body and the spirit are used as concepts in a wide range of discourses: political essays, manifestos, thoughts on literature, or on aesthetics. They deal with issues of culturalism and identity: in some cases for example, China is described as a “spiritual culture”, whereas the West is identified with its “material civilization”. Furthermore, the “progressive” as well as the “conservative” modern Chinese authors, calling either for Westernization or a “reconstruction” of the Chinese tradition, all anyhow asserted the primacy of the “spirit”. These distinctions, as well as the modern concept of “culture” were mainly imported from the West and Japan. Nevertheless, this “discourse of the spirit” also pursues a Chinese intellectual tradition of its own, such as “Neo-Confucianism” or “Consciousness Only” Buddhism. A further question would be to replace this Chinese modern discourse of the spirit in a global perspective: in modern times, some intellectuals in other countries facing modernization also developed a kind of “spiritualist” assertion of their renewed traditions and cultures.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques
Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 65 (2011) > 1
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:French
Date:2011
Deposited On:22 Jun 2011 07:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:56
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-48467

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