Teaching Chinese History: The Issue of Approach

Xiangshu FANG, Lijun BI


In China, the study of history has never been a detached academic pursuit, as it has always been indistinguishable from political directions. Chinese political leaders have been unable to adopt a disinterested approach towards history, be it distant or contemporary. On the other hand, Western historians interpret Chinese history from their own point of view, and they often view Chinese history as an extension of Western history. Often, they have been preoccupied with the concern to explain or justify their own record or involvement rather than to produce an objective account, especially in regard to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries’ history of China. This study questions the conventional approach to China’s past, be that of a Confucian, a Communist or a Western ethnocentric historiographer. It explores the possibility of establishing a “Chinese experience-based” approach while maintaining “impartiality and neutrality”, looking to historical studies outside of China to achieve this.


Chinese history; Historiography; History teaching methodology

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.hess.1927024020130402.3702


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