The Wobbling Pivot, China since 1800An Interpretive History
This comprehensive but concise narrative of China since the eighteenth century builds its story around the delicate relationship between central government and local communities. Rejects the traditional view of China as a wholly harmonious society based on principles of stability – the Unwobbling Pivot of Ezra Pound's translation of the Chinese classic Zhongyong Provides an original interpretation, arguing that developments can be explained through an understanding of China’s surprising swings between centralization and decentralization, between local initiative and central authoritarianism Serves as an introduction to the subject, while readers with a background in Chinese history will find the book offers a personal perspective and addresses long-standing interpretive issues Supported by a variety of timelines, maps, illustrations, and extensive notes for further reading Places China’s history within the context of global change
List of Illustrations. List of Maps. Foreword and Acknowledgments. Prelude. Timeline. 1. The Wobbling Pivot. 2. Sources of Order Under the Qing Empire. 3. Sources of Disorder Under the Qing Empire. 4. Essay: Strategic Borders. 5. Qing and the World. 6. Essay: Rebel Heroines. 7. Visionaries. 8. Essay: Hunan Takes the Lead. 9. Essay: Water. 10. Beiyang Ascendancy. 11. Cultural Revolution. 12. Essay: Manchus as Minorities. 13. War. 14. The Ubiquitous Center. 15. Essay: Minerals. 16. Essay: Health Risks. 17. Gravity. Bibliography. Index.
“Finding a fresh angle to a familiar story is a challenge, one that this book has dealt with creatively and convincingly.” (English Historical Review, 1 June 2014 "As a textbook, The Wobbling Pivot is accessible, complete and readable, and as a synthesis of twentieth century Chinese history, it is both original and provocative, and a valuable introduction to the perennial issues that China poses in the undergraduate classroom.” (The China Quarterly, 1 September 2012) "[A] lively survey ... .It sheds considerable light on contemporary Chinese dilemmas." (Shanghaiist, December 2010)
Pamela Kyle Crossley is Professor of Inner Asian, East Asian Intellectual and Chinese History at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Her publications include The Manchus (Blackwell, 1997); A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Ideology (1999); and What is Global History? (2008). She is a past Guggenheim Fellow and was awarded the Levenson Prize from the Association for Asian Studies in 2001.
This comprehensive but concise narrative of China since the eighteenth century builds its story around the delicate relationship between central government and local communities. With a nod to Ezra Pound's translation of the Chinese classic Zhongyong – The Unwobbling Pivot, Pamela Kyle Crossley argues that China's modern history has not wholly adhered to the ideal of the ‘unwobbling pivot’, with China as a harmonious society based on principles of stability. Instead she argues that developments can be explained through China’s surprising swings between centralization and decentralization, between local initiative and central authoritarianism. The author’s approach is broad enough to provide a full introduction to modern Chinese history. Students new to the subject will be supported with timelines, maps, illustrations, and extensive notes to further readings, while those with a background in Chinese history will find an underlying theme in the narrative addressing long-standing interpretive issues. As a personal perspective from a leading authority in the field, The Wobbling Pivot provides a stimulating and original interpretation of the course of modern Chinese history.
"Pamela Crossley, a leading historian of the Qing Empire, has hit upon a genuinely novel and stylish way of telling the story of China's modern transformations. She strikes a good balance between offering up big arguments and supporting them with revealing details, and she excels at limning connections between collective actions and state responses to unrest two centuries ago and patterns of protest and repression in the current era of Internet petitions and text message mobilization. The result is truly impressive, a high-level work of synthesis that is informed by deep knowledge of the past yet speaks with immediacy to the concerns of the present." —Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, University of California-Irvine, author of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know "Pamela Crossley's book gives readers a new and original perspective on modern Chinese history by moving its focus away from the politics of the centre to give us a greater understanding of how China's regions and minorities have shaped this multi-voiced society in its transition from empire to nation-state." —Rana Mitter, University of Oxford "Original, conceptually bold, and unusually engaging. Crossley offers her readers a broader and deeper meditation on the shape and significance of China’s historical trajectory, one that may indeed make Chinese history more meaningful in the context of teaching undergraduates." —Bryna Goodman, University of Oregon "The Wobbling Pivot is refreshingly ambitious in its interpretation of the whole scope of Chinese history since 1800. Its analysis of the often disastrous extremes of state authoritarianism and local implosion is told with a telling eye for detail that will grip general readers and specialists alike." —Frank Dikotter, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the University of Hong Kong
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