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Exploring modern and contemporary Han Shu study

Author  :  HU XIYUN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-04-28

History of Modern and Contemporary Han Shu Study

Written by the historian Ban Gu (32–92), Han Shu mainly records the history of the Western Han Dynasty (206BCE–24CE). As China’s first dynastic history book in a biographical style, it is another significant historical record following Records of the Historian.

In History of Modern and Contemporary Han Shu Study, the author analyzes the developments and characteristics of Han Shu study since the 20th century and introduces the dissemination, acceptance and research of the Han Shu by Chinese and foreign scholars. She also introduces Ban’s academic thought, his life, the history of the Ban family and the thoughts and writings of some important family members. 

The author combines time-oriented longitudinal research and problem-centered horizontal research. She summarizes the research status of Han Shu in chronological order, namely, in the early, middle and late periods of the 20th and 21st centuries. Also, the research on modern and contemporary Han Shu study are divided into three categories—general research, monographic research and comparative research—to be compared and analyzed horizontally. The author not only comments on the overall developments of modern and contemporary Han Shu study, but also selects some representative researchers and their works for in-depth analysis.

In addition, this book comprehensively covers the dissemination and research of Han Shu in some East Asian countries from ancient times to present. It also presents the translation, introduction and research of some European and American scholars since the end of the 19th century. This expands the depth and breadth of the book. Domestic academic circles can compare with and learn from the different research methods and perspectives of overseas scholars. 

While actively and objectively making evaluations about the academic results of those scholars, the author also shows her own point of view without hesitation. For example, although she acknowledges the achievements of Han Shu study in Europe and the United States since the 20th century, she points out that due to insufficient knowledge of the writing background and compilation purposes of Han Shu and Chinese historical culture, even the most prestigious foreign experts specializing in the history of the Qin and Han dynasties, such as A. F. P. Hulsewe, Michael Loewe and Hans Bielenstein, often exhibit some prejudices and misunderstandings in their interpretation of Chinese traditional historiography such as Records of the Historian and Han Shu.



(Edited by YANG LANLAN)







Editor: Yu Hui

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