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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography$
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Robin Winks

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.001.0001

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Formal and Informal Empire in East Asia

Formal and Informal Empire in East Asia

Chapter:
(p.379) 25 Formal and Informal Empire in East Asia
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume V: Historiography
Author(s):

C. M. Turnbull

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205661.003.0025

By the early 20th century, an impressive body of Western-language sources was available to historians concerned with Britain’s involvement in East Asia. The explosion of Chinese nationalism in the 1920s and Chinese demands to end the foreign privilege system attracted growing public and scholarly interest in the West. The more conciliatory relationship between the British government and Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang administration in the 1930s stimulated interest among some British historians. The expansion of higher education in the developed world after the Second World War bred a new generation of professional academic historians, eager to explore fresh approaches to the study of history. There was considerable discussion about whether the Chinese economy profited or suffered from foreign attempts at modernization. The historiography of British imperialism in the Far East stands at a crossroads, with a number of contrary paths beckoning. A new generation may dismiss British imperialism as a short, if at times traumatic, interlude in the long history of an ancient country.

Keywords:   East Asia, Empire, Britain, British imperialism, historiography, Chinese economy, Chinese nationalism, British government, Chiang Kai-shek

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