American Humanism in the Context of Chinese Conservatism of the 1920s

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Chief Researcher
Affiliation: Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 6

The article is focused in the influences of the ideas of the new humanism by Irving Babbitt on the formation of Chinese cultural conservatism. Babbitt considered the humanistic teachings of Confucius and Aristotle as equally important components of world culture. He called for caution in the process of modernization of China in order to prevent the destruction of moral foundations of the Chinese tradition. Chinese students transformed these ideas into arguments in controversy with the New Culture Movement. The experience of the assimilation of the ideology of the new humanism by the followers of the Xueheng group refutes the thesis about the insulation of Chinese conservatism from external influences.

KeywordsChina, West, modernization, tradition, Confucianism
Publication date28.12.2018
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1. Babbitt I. The Dhammapada. Translated from the Pali with an Essay on Buddha and the Occident. New York — London: Oxford University Press, 1936.

2. Babbitt I. Rousseau and Romanticism. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919.

3. Ibid. P. xix.

4. Ibid. P. 396.

5. Ibid. P. 398.

6. Babbitt I. Humanistic education in China and the West // Chinese Students’ Monthly. 1921. Vol. 17. No. 2. P. 85–91.

7. Ibid. P. 91.

8. Ibidem.

9. Babbitt I. Democracy and Leadership. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. 1924. P. 158–185.

10. Ibid. P. 184.

11. Duan Junhui. Irving Babbitt’s Neo-humanism and Eastern Thoughts // Comparative Literature: East & West. 2007. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 111–118.

12. Hon Tze-ki. The Allure of the Nation: The Cultural and Historical Debates in Late Qing and Republican China. Leiden — Boston: Brill, 2015. P. 117–118.

13. Ong Chang Woei. 'Which West Are You Talking About?' Critical Review: A Unique Model of Conservatism in Modern China // Humanitas. 2004. Vol. 17. No. 1–2. P. 69–82.

14. Byan'yan': [Predislovie] // Syuehkhehn. 1922. № 1. S. 1.

15. Hon Tze-ki. Op. cit. P. 114.

16. Zhu Shoutong. Chinese Reactions to Babbitt: Admiration, Encumbrance, Vilification // Humanitas. 2004. Vol. 17. No. 1–2. P. 26–45.

17. Ibid. P. 32.

18. Bajbideh Chzhun Si zhehn'vehn' tszyaoyuj tan': [Razgovor Behbbita o gumanisticheskom obrazovanii v Kitae i na Zapade] // Syuehkhehn. 1922. № 3. S. 1–12.

19. Hon Tze-ki. Op. cit. P. 120.

20. Ibid. P. 124–125.

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