19 October 2011

China’s Rise in Historical Perspective

Brantly Womack, ed., China’s Rise in Historical Perspective (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010).

“Stimulating and elegant. This unique book purposefully blends insightful historical analyses and strong present-day commentaries, placing core elements of the phenomenon of contemporary China into very meaningful contexts. This welcome and long-overdue approach will assist a broad readership that seeks to understand both where China has been and where it is going.”

—Robert A. Kapp, former president, US-China Business Council

China, with its geographical, historical, cultural, and political distance from the West, long has been a black box upon which we readily paste labels—communist, non-Western, developing country—but whose internal logic remains a mystery to us. Arguing that it would be a major step forward in our genuine knowledge of China if we understood its internal dynamic, this innovative book considers China from a historical perspective to chart its current dynamic and future direction.

Renowned historians, economists, and political scientists explore the internal dynamic of China’s rise since traditional times through the key themes of China’s identity, security, economy, environment, energy, and politics. Each themed section pairs a historian with a social scientist to give an overall view of where China is coming from and where it is heading. One of the PRC’s best-known experts on international relations provides a concluding reflection on the political psychology of China’s view of itself in the world.

Although a China-centered perspective does not yield clear, absolute truths about China’s rise, focusing on change in the PRC from pre-modern times to the present allows us to distinguish between China’s own dynamic and its relative change of position vis-à-vis other actors, including ourselves. Written in clear and accessible style, this nuanced book will be essential reading for all readers interested in China past and present and its growing global role.

Special Features:

-Presents a China-centered perspective on China’s rise

-Treats China’s rise comprehensively, not just focusing on politics or economics

-Considers China’s rise in depth, going back thousands of years and forward to new challenges on the horizon

-Combines the expertise of historians and social scientists

-Authored by leading scholars, all noted in their fields

-Written in accessible and engaging style

List of Contributors
Lowell Dittmer, Erica S. Downs, Mark Elvin, Joseph W. Esherick, Joseph Fewsmith, Barry Naughton, Dwight H. Perkins, Qin Yaqing, Evelyn S. Rawski, R. Keith Schoppa, Michael D. Swaine, and Brantly Womack.

About the Editor
Brantly Womack is Cumming Memorial Professor of Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.

Publications cited in this volume include:

Gabriel B. Collins, Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and William S. Murray, eds., China’s Energy Strategy: The Impact on Beijing’s Maritime Policies (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2008).

Andrew S. Erickson and Gabriel Collins, “Beijing’s Energy Security Strategy: The Significance of a Chinese State-Owned Tanker Fleet,” Orbis 51.4 (Fall 2007): 665-84.