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Special feature: The National Learning Revival

The Revival of Guoxue

Historical Antecedents and Contemporary Aspirations
John Makeham
p. 14-21


After some opening remarks on the recent commodification of guoxue, I first trace the rise of guoxue in the contemporary period, and then I examine two topics in more detail: guoxue’s historical and contemporary transformation into an academic discipline; and the immediate origins of guoxue’s pronounced ethnoepistemological character. Through this examination my aim is to bring into greater relief some of the aspirations invested in guoxue by its contemporary protagonists, and also to highlight some of the conundrums associated with those aspirations.

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Bibliographical reference

John Makeham, « The Revival of Guoxue », China Perspectives, 2011/1 | 2011, 14-21.

Electronic reference

John Makeham, « The Revival of Guoxue », China Perspectives [Online], 2011/1 | 2011, Online since 30 March 2014, connection on 22 August 2019. URL :

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About the author

John Makeham

Head of the Chinese Studies Department, School of Culture, History and Language, at The Australian National University. He is a specialist in Chinese intellectual history with a particular interest in Confucian philosophy. He recently completed an edited volume on Neo-Confucian philosophy and an edited volume on the formation of Chinese philosophy as an academic discipline. He is currently preparing an annotated translation of Xiong Shili's Xin Weishi lun (New Treatise on Cognition-only), a seminal text in twentieth-century Chinese Buddhist and Confucian philosophy.

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