Chinese Visions of World Order

Tianxia, Culture, and World Politics

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: Published: September 2017

Asian Studies > East Asia, History > Asian History, Politics > Political Theory

The Confucian doctrine of tianxia (all under heaven) outlines a unitary worldview that cherishes global justice and transcends social, geographic, and political divides. For contemporary scholars, it has held myriad meanings, from the articulation of a cultural imaginary and political strategy to a moralistic commitment and a cosmological vision. The contributors to Chinese Visions of World Order examine the evolution of tianxia's meaning and practice in the Han dynasty and its mutations in modern times. They attend to its varied interpretations, its relation to realpolitik, and its revival in twenty-first-century China. They also investigate tianxia's birth in antiquity and its role in empire building, invoke its cultural universalism as a new global imagination for the contemporary world, analyze its resonance and affinity with cosmopolitanism in East-West cultural relations, discover its persistence in China's socialist internationalism and third world agenda, and critique its deployment as an official state ideology. In so doing, they demonstrate how China draws on its past to further its own alternative vision of the current international system.

Contributors. Daniel A. Bell, Chishen Chang, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Prasenjit Duara, Hsieh Mei-yu, Haiyan Lee, Mark Edward Lewis, Lin Chun, Viren Murthy, Lisa Rofel, Ban Wang, Wang Hui, Yiqun Zhou


Chinese Visions of World Order is the best kind of edited volume; it gives the impression that its diverse array of contributions have been curated rather than commissioned.” — Salvatore Babones, MCLC Resource Center

"Compiles a fascinating multiplicity of philosophical thoughts and historiographic accounts of the Chinese tianxia . . . . A good read for anyone interested in Chinese intellectual history and philosophy." — Nele Noesselt, The China Quarterly

“From an explanation of the on-the-ground way in which tianxia unfolded during the Han dynasty as a form of multiethnic, multicultural political unity to reflections on socialist internationalism and foreign policy, Chinese Visions of World Order brilliantly investigates Chinese forms of universality and global unity over the centuries and in contemporary society. Broad in historical scope and approach, these studies are important contributions to evolving research on world systems, empire, and cultural or political authority.” — Wendy Larson, author of From Ah Q to Lei Feng: Freud and Revolutionary Spirit in Twentieth-Century China

"Literally meaning 'all under heaven,' tianxia is a paradigmatic figure of universality. Like any concept, however, it also carries specific meanings and connotations, and this pathbreaking volume examines the various ways tianxia has been deployed in Chinese philosophy and politics from antiquity to the present." — Carlos Rojas, coeditor of Ghost Protocol: Development and Displacement in Global China


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ban Wang is William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies at Stanford University and the author of several books, most recently, Illuminations from the Past: Trauma, Memory, and History in Modern China.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction / Ban Wang  1
Part I. Tianxia, Confucianism, and Empire
1. Tianxia and the Invention of Empire in East Asia / Mark Edward Lewis and Hsieh Mei-yu  25
2. From Empire to State: Kang Youwei, Confucian Universalism, and Unity / Wang Hui  49
3. The Chinese World Order and Planetary Sustainability / Prasenjit Duara  65
Part II. Tianxia, Cross-Cultural Learning, and Cosmopolitanism
4. The Moral Vision in Kang Youwei's Book of the Great Community / Ban Wang  87
5. Greek Antiquity, Chinese Modernity, and the Changing World Order / Yiquan Zhou  106
6. Realizing Tianxia: Traditional Values and China's Foreign Policy / Daniel A. Bell  129
Part III. Tianxia and Socialist Internationalism
7. Tianxia and Postwar Japanese Sinologists' Vision of the Chinese Revolution: The Cases of Nishi Junzo and Mizoguchi Yuzo / Viren Murthy  149
8. China's Lost World of Internationalism / Lin Chun  177
9. China's Tianxia Worldlings: Socialist and Postsocialist Cosmopolitanisms / Lisa Rofel  212
Part IV. Tianxia and Its Discontents
10. The Soft Power of the Constant Soldier: or, Why We Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the PLA / Haiyan Lee  237
11. Tracking Tianxia: On Intellectual Self-Positioning / Chishen Chang and Kuan-Hsing Chen  267
Bibliography  293
Contributors  319
Index  323
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6946-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6931-8
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