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Kaozheng Scholarship Essays

Numerous general surveys are available from which one may glean information on the intellectual trends in late imperial China, but those included here offer some of the best analyses and discussions. Rong 1966, Gong and Shi 2007, and Wang 2010 provide systematic, general coverage of the intellectual trends, some in more details than others; Chen 2003 examines these trends in philosophical terms, whereas De Bary 1989 and De Bary 1991 deal with these in terms of intellectual history. Smith and Kwok 1993 offers a wide range of essays on various aspects of Qing thought. Yamanoi 1980 represents the best of Japanese scholarship on the topic.

  • Chen Lai 陈来. Zhongguo jinshi sixiangshi yanjiu (中国近世思想史研究). Beijing: Shangwu yinshuguan, 2003.

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    Written by one of the foremost philosophers in China, the second part of this volume concerns various aspects of late imperial Chinese thought. The most interesting and unusual portions are in the chapters 16 and 21 on the intellectual culture that emanated out of the academies (shuyuan 書院), where the scholars lectured and gathered to debate and discuss. Chapter 18 also stands out for dealing with the relations between Confucian ideas and folk religious beliefs.

  • De Bary, William Theodore. The Message of the Mind in Neo-Confucianism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

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    This work rejects the artificial division of Song-Ming Confucianism into the so-called school of principle (lixue) and school of mind (xinxue), tracing the development of Cheng-Zhu teachings in the Qing in terms of the central message regarding the primacy of the mind-and-heart (xin)—the xinfa (the message, measure, and method of the mind-and-heart), which constituted the core of the daotong (the transmission and lineage of the Way).

  • De Bary, William Theodore. Learning for One’s Self: Essays on the Individual in Neo-Confucian Thought. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

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    This book uses ample examples from the Ming-Qing period to illustrate the centrality of the self in the Confucian project of moral cultivation, which, in its essentials, was premised on locating the realized self in the contexts of family, society, and state, such that knowing one’s self was tantamount to knowing the larger external responsibilities that one should shoulder.

  • Gong Shuduo 龚书铎, and Shi Gexin 史革新. Qingdai lixueshi (清代理学史). 3 vols. Guangzhou, China: Guangdong jiaoyu chubanshe, 2007.

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    This three-volume work is part of the state-sponsored, official project of the compilation of the entirety of Qing history. Although the focus is on Neo-Confucian learning (lixue 理学), this work of some 1,600 pages functions as a broad intellectual history of the Qing. It is particularly useful when examining the relationship between thoughts and social and political institutions, such as the examination system, academies, and Confucian temples.

  • Rong Zhaozu 容肇祖. Mingdai sixiangshi (明代思想史). Taibei: Kaiming shudian, 1966.

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    A classic text of general reference and a go-to primer that continues to furnish reliable information and serves as a basic introduction to the thoughts and ideas of the Ming thinkers.

  • Smith, Richard J., and D. W. Y. Kwok, eds. Cosmology, Ontology, and Human Efficacy: Essays in Chinese Thought. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1993.

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    The title is somewhat deceptive in that it seems to suggest a volume of essays with broad chronological coverage. In fact, with the exception of a couple of chapters 1 and 9, all deal with various aspects of Qing thought and learning, such as evidential research, ideas of ontology and cosmology, popular religio-philosophical tenets, and conceptions of rituals.

  • Wang Xuequn 汪学群. Zhongguo ruxueshi: Qingdai juan (中国儒學史: 清代卷). Beijing: Beijing dauxue chubanshe, 2010.

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    Apart from being a competent survey of the some of the major intellectual figures and trends in the Qing, it is particular good in revealing the continued development of Lu-Wang learning associated with the Neo-Confucian school of mind-heart, which is commonly seen to have become moribund. The two substantial chapters 10 and 11 on the reemergence of Gongyang learning as an integral part of Qing learning are particularly informative.

  • Yamanoi Yū 山井湧. Min Shin shisō shi no kenkyū (明清思想史の研究). Tokyo: Tōkyō daigaku shuppankai, 1980.

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    These essays show the newness of Qing thought in terms of the rise of the “philosophy of psycho-physical force (qi)” that dislodged the previously influential “philosophy of principle (li)” of the orthodox Cheng-Zhu school. Reveals the de-emphasis on introspective moral cultivation as fervent interests in practical and solid learning, such as evidential textual studies, practical statecraft, geography, history, astronomy, and mathematics, came to the fore.

  • Chapter 7 The First Clash with the West The Reponse of China ’ s Scholars Kaozheng scholars, who were from a school that espoused evidential research, began to ques-tion the Qing and some of their policies, noting that there were problems in the Chinese sys-tem … but this criticism was dangerous. Hong Liangji: completed jinshi exams, wrote a series of essays in 1790s about China ’ s prob-lems of population, corruption, etc. But when he criticized Qianlong and Heshen, he was sen-tenced to death, which he avoided only by a pardon from Jiaqing, the new emperor. He Changling: combiled a probing but practical collection of documents about the Qing and its policies which highlighted the inherent problems. He advocated an increase in the use of ocean shipping, but his programs were cancelled because workers on the Grand Canal were mad. Gong Zizhen: a scholar who was drawn to the Gongyang commentaries about the Confucian text The Spring and Autumn Annals which, unlike most cyclical views about progress, set out a linear growth model: the age of chaos, the age of ascending peace, and the age of universal peace. Gong ’ s thoughts:-attacked corruption, rituals, and the clich é s in the examination system-pointed to opium abuse, unequal distribution of wealth, foot binding etc, as signs that China was in the age of chaos, the lowest stage.-felt especially that the unequal distribution of wealth would lead to China ’ s ruin. Li Ruzhen: a Confucian scholar who wrote Flowers in the Mirror. He was particularly interested in gender relations, and one of the chapters in the book has role-reversals in which the men have to bind their feet, do their makeup, and pierce their ears. Shen Fu: wrote Six Records from a Floating Life, in which he shows what it was like to be an educated man without prospects in China. Instead, he drifted through with part-time jobs, al-ways feeling held down by his father and his employers. China