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Special feature: The National Learning Revival

The National Studies Craze

The Phenomena, the Controversies, and Some Reflections
Chen Jiaming
Translated by Stacy Mosher
p. 22-30


This article first gives a brief description of the phenomena of the revival of traditional studies and culture (Guoxue Craze) in mainland China, then presents and critiques the controversies that surround them, including questions of what “national studies” are, whether the national studies craze is “artificial heat,” and the emergence of “Confucian fundamentalism” in the national studies craze, etc. It finally offers some reflections on these phenomena, such as the danger of getting bogged down in parochial nationalism; the infeasibility of China relying on Confucian traditional culture to achieve modernisation; and the absurdity of attempts by Confucian fundamentalism to use “Confucianism to solve all of China’s problems.”

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Bibliographical reference

Chen Jiaming, « The National Studies Craze », China Perspectives, 2011/1 | 2011, 22-30.

Electronic reference

Chen Jiaming, « The National Studies Craze », China Perspectives [Online], 2011/1 | 2011, Online since 30 March 2014, connection on 22 July 2018. URL :

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About the author

Chen Jiaming

Professor of the department of philosophy, Xiamen University, China, received his Ph.D. from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (1989). He was a Fulbright scholar (2001-2002) at Harvard University and a K. C. Wong Fellow of the British Academy (1995-1996) at St. Andrews University. He has also been a visiting scholar of Marburg University, Germany (1993), and at Amsterdam University, the Netherlands (1999). He is currently chief editor of the Academic Journal of Xiamen University, as well as editor of Philosophical Analysis and of German Philosophy.

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