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The Emergence of Civilizational Consciousness in Early China
The Emergence of Civilizational Consciousness in Early China: History Word by Word | Uffe Bergeton
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This book provides a conceptual history of the emergence of civilizational consciousness in early China. Focusing on how words are used in pre-Qn (before 221 BCE) texts to construct identities and negotiate relationships between a 'civilised self' and 'uncivilised others', it provides a re-examination of the origins and development of these ideas. By adopting a novel approach to determining when civilizational consciousness emerged in pre-Qn China, this book analyzes this question in ways that establish a fresh hermeneutical dialogue between Chinese and modern European understandings of 'civilization.' Whereas previous studies have used archaeological data to place its origin somewhere between 3000 BCE and 1000 BCE, this book explores changes in word meanings in texts from the pre-Qn period to reject this view. Instead, this book dates the emergence of civilizational consciousness in China to around 2,500 years ago. In the process, new chronologies of the coining of Old Chinese terms such as customs, barbarians, and the Great ones, are proposed, which challenge anachronistic assumptions about these terms in earlier studies. Examining important Chinese classics, such as the Analects, the Mencius and the Mzi, as well as key historical periods and figures in the context of the concept of civilization, this book will useful to students and scholars of Chinese and Asian history.
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Deeply interesting book.

As the book is in English, he first describes the meaning and history of the English word 'civilization'.

Then uses English to explore the existence (or non-existence) of similar concepts in pre-Qin China, focusing on the word wén and descriptions of people who did not follow the Shang or Zhou rituals.

King Wén descriptions evolve from magestic dress to a high culture embodiment as the meaning of wén changes.

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Changes in meaning/usage of the word 'civilization' in English/French. Begins with roots in bureaucracy and with a strong focus on the superiority of Western European culture and need to civilize others. Switches to ethnographic / archaeological usages where people tried to compare multiple 'civilizations' or define aspects of a 'civilization'.

Settings Book is going to track the development of 'civilizational conciousness' in Ancient China, focusing on the word 文. Expect this to be extremely interesting. 1mo
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"I am interested in how we can use lexical changes in word meanings to study historical changes in collective consciousness and social structure."

Thought this was an archaeology-based history book, but this looks even more interesting. Seems to be written more simply than the media theory book I tried to read - hope I can keep up with it.

Settings This is extremely fascinating, mindblowing stuff... 1mo
33 likes1 comment