Introduction to "Law, Politics, and Society in Republican China"

Wen-hsin Yeh, University of California, Berkeley
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In 2011, the centennial of the 1911 Revolution, the Institute of Modern History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a set of publications that includes a narrative history of the Republic of China (Zhonghua minguo shi, 12 volumes), a chronology (Dashiji, 12 volumes), and a collection of Republican biographies (Renwuzhuan, 8 volumes). The result of decades of work since the founding of the Institute’s History of the Republic of China unit in 1956, this monumental set pays tribute to the foundational research of multiple cohorts of Chinese historians on the subject of the revolution. Now that many previously accepted “facts” have been more or less tamed, the moment has come, in China as well as elsewhere, for the field to take up the issue of how best to approach the history of the Republic of China from various perspectives.