Beyond the Warring States
The First World War and the Redemptive Critique of Modernity in the Work of Du Yaquan (1873–1933)
Keywords:First World War, modern Chinese intellectual history, Du Yaquan, war, nationalism, science
The intellectual impact of the First World War in China is often understood as having led to a disenchantment with the West and a discrediting of the authority of “science”, while at the same time ushering in a renewed sense of cultural as well as national “awakening”. Important developments such as the May Fourth Movement, the rise of Chinese Marxism, and the emergence of modern Confucianism have become integral parts of the narrative surrounding the effects of the “European War” in China, and bear witness to the contested relation between tradition and modernity in twentieth-century Chinese thought. Through a case study of a number of wartime and post-war texts written by the “cultural conservative” thinker and publicist Du Yaquan (1873–1933), this paper tries to draw attention to the complexity and occasional ambiguity of responses to the “Great War” in modern Chinese intellectual history. More specifically, the following pages offer an analysis of Du’s critique of “materialism” in the context of his quest for social freedom and cultural continuity, his enduring commitment to scientific notions of social evolution and political governance, and his approach to the relations among war, the nation-state, the individual, and the international interstate order developed against the background of the First World War.
Alexeeva, Olga. 2015. “Forgotten Ally: China in the First World War.” In Representing World War 1: Perspectives at the Centenary. Essays from the Humber College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the International Festival Of Authors Conference in 2014, edited by Daniel Hambly, and Lisa Salem-Wiseman, 42–77. Toronto: Humber Press.
Bergson, Henri. 1915. The Meaning of the War: Life and Matter in Conflict. London: Unwin.
Cai, Yuanpei 蔡元培. (1918) 1984. “Dazhan yu zhexue 大战与哲学 (The Great War and Philosophy).” In Cai Yuanpei quanji 蔡元培全集 (The Complete Works of Cai Yuanpei), vol. 3, 200–5. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju.
Chen, Duxiu 陈独秀. (1915) 1982. “Jinggao qingnian 警告青年 (A Call to the Youth).” In Zhongguo xiandai sixiang shi ziliao jianbian 中国现代思想史资料简编 (A Concise Sourcebook in Modern Chinese Intellectual History), edited by Cai Shangsi 蔡尚思, vol. 1, 1–7. Hangzhou: Zhejiang renmin chubanshe.
–––. (1919) 1982. “Shandong wenti yu guomin juewu 山东问题与国民觉悟 (The Shandong Problem and Civil Awakening.” In Zhongguo xiandai sixiang shi ziliao jianbian 中国现代思想史资料简编 (A Concise Sourcebook in Modern Chinese Intellectual History), edited by Cai Shangsi 蔡尚思, vol. 1, 49–51. Hangzhou: Zhejiang renmin chubanshe.
Chen, Yiwen 陈镱文, Kang Xiaoyu 亢小玉, and Yao Yuan 姚远. 2008. “Du Yaquan nianpu (1912–1933) 杜亚泉年谱：1912–1933 (Chronology of Du Yaquan’s Life and Works, 1912–1933).” Xibei daxue xuebao 西北大学学报 (Journal of Northwest University) 38 (6): 1044–50.
Chen, Youliang 陈友良. 2012. “Yan Fu de di yi ci shijie dazhan guan 严复的第一次世界大战观 (Yan Fu’s Views on the First World War).” Shehui zongheng 社会纵横 (Social Review) 27 (10): 121–24.
Chiu, Eugene W. 丘为君. 2005. “Zhanzheng yu qimeng: ‘ouzhan’ dui Zhongguo de qishi 战争与启蒙：“欧战”对中国的启示 (War and Enlightenment: How the ‘European War’ Enlightened China).” Guoli zhengzhi daxue lishi bao 国立政治大学历史学报 (National Chengchi University Historical Journal) 23: 91–146.
Ciaudo, Joseph. 2013. “La Grande Guerre à travers les yeux d’un intellectuel chinois: altérité culturelle et description d’un conflit.” Paper presented at the International Society for First World War Studies Conference, Paris, 26–27 September 2013.
Dai, Qing 戴晴. 2009. Zai rulaifo zhang zhong: Zhang Dongsun he tade shidai 在如来佛掌中：张东荪和他的时代 (In the Buddha’s Palm: Zhang Dongsun and his Age). Hong Kong: Zhongwen daxue chubanshe.
De Warren, Nicolas. 2014. “The First World War, Philosophy, and Europe.” Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 76: 715–37.
Du, Yaquan 杜亚泉. (1911) 2003. “Geming zhanzheng 革命战争 (Revolutionary War).” In Du Yaquan wencun 杜亚泉文存 (Collected Writings of Du Yaquan), edited by Xu Jilin 许纪霖, and Tian Jianye 田建业, 141–46. Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe. (Hereafter abbreviated to DYQWC.) (Note: all of Du’s texts listed below were originally published, often using pseudonyms such as Cang Fu 伧父 and Gao Lao 高劳, in Eastern Miscellany (Dongfang zazhi 东方杂志) while he served as the journal’s main editor.)
–––. 1913. “Jingshen jiuguo lun 精神救国论 (On Saving the Nation through Spirit).” In DYQWC, 33–55 (three parts).
–––. 1914a. “Jiexuzhuyi 接续主义 (Continuism).” In DYQWC, 12–15.
–––. (1914b) 2014. “Dazhan yu Zhongguo 大战与中国 (The Great War and China).” In Du Yaquan juan 杜亚泉卷 (Writings of Du Yaquan), edited by Zhou Yuefeng 周月峰, 186–92. Beijing: Zhongguo renmin daxue chubanshe. (Hereafter abbreviated to DYQJ.)
–––. 1915a. “Shehui xieli zhuyi 社会协力主义 (Social Cooperativism).” In DYQWC, 16–23.
–––. 1915b. “Lun sixiang zhan 论思想战 (On the War of Ideas).” In DYQWC, 56–60.
–––. 1915c. “Guojia ziwei lun 国家自卫论 (On National Self-Defense).” In DYQWC, 147–51.
–––. 1916a. “Ai yu zheng 爱与争 (Love and Strife).” In DYQWC, 24–27.
–––. 1916b. “Li zhi tiaojie 力之调节 (The Harmonization of Forces).” In DYQWC, 171–74.
–––. 1916c. “Jing de wenming yu dong de wenming 静的文明与动的文明 (Static and Dynamic Civilizations).” In DYQWC, 338–44.
–––. 1917a. “Geren yu guojia zhi jie shuo 个人与国家之界说 (On the Boundaries between the Individual and the State).” In DYQWC, 166–70.
–––. 1917b. “Zhan hou dong xi wenming zhi tiaohe 战后东西文明之调和 (The Postwar Reconciliation of Eastern and Western Civilization)”. In DYQWC, 345–50.
–––. 1917c. “Weilai zhi shiju 未来之世局 (The Future State of the World).” In DYQWC, 194–99.
–––. 1917d. “Xuanzhan yu shiju zhi guanxi 宣战与时局之关系 (The Relation between the Declaration of War and the Current Situation).” In DYQJ, 398–401.
–––. 1918a. “Maodun zhi tiaohe 矛盾之调和 (The Reconciliation of Opposites).” In DYQWC, 28–32.
–––. 1918b. “Miluan zhi xiandai renxin 迷乱之现代人心 (The Confusion of the Modern Human Mind).” In DYQWC, 362–67.
–––.1918c. “Jinquan and bingquan 金权与兵权 (Economic Power and Military Power).” In DYQWC, 222–26.
–––. 1918d. “Guojiazhuyi zhi kaolü 国家主义之考虑 (Reflections on Nationalism).” In DYQJ, 447–51.
–––. 1918e. “Dui weilai shijie zhi zhunbei ruhe 对未来世界之准备如何？(How Should We Prepare for the Future World?).” In DYQJ, 458–65.
–––. 1919a. “Dazhan zhongjie hou guoren zhi juewu ruhe 大战终结后国人之觉悟如何 (The State of Our Compatriots’ Awakening after the End of the Great War). ” In DYQWC, 205–11.
–––. 1919b. “Dazhan hou Zhongguo suo de zhi liyi 大战后中国所得之利益 (The Benefits Gained by China in the Postwar Period).” In DYQJ, 484–88.
–––. 1919c. “Xin jiu sixiang zhi zhezhong 新旧思想之折衷 (Reconciling New and Old Ideas).” In DYQWC, 401–07.
Elman, Benjamin A. 2004. “From Pre-Modern Chinese Natural Studies (格致学) to Modern Science (科学) in China.” In Mapping Meanings: The Field of New Learning in Late Qing China, edited by Michael Lackner and Natascha Vittinghoff, 25–74. Leiden and Boston: Brill.
Fung, Edmund S. K. 2010. The Intellectual Foundations of Chinese Modernity. Cultural and Political Thought in the Republican Era. Cambridge (N.Y.): Cambridge University Press.
Gao, Like 高力克. 1999. “Wusi qimeng de kunjing: zai lishi yu jiazhi zhi jian 五四启蒙的困境：在历史与价值之间 (The Predicament of May Fourth Enlightenment: the Tension between History and Value).” Zhejiang xuekan 浙江学刊 (Zhejiang Journal) 2: 5–12.
Graziani, Sofia. 2014. “Youth and the Making of Modern China: A Study of the Communist Youth League’s Organisation and Strategies in Times of Revolution (1920–1937).” European Journal of Asian Studies 13 (1): 117–49.
Han, Han. 2017. “The First World War, Scientific Thought, and Chinese Politics in the 1920s.” The Journal of East-West Thought 7 (3): 71–78.
Ku, Hung-Ming. 1915. The Spirit of the Chinese People, With an Essay on ‘The War and the Way Out’. Peking: The Peking Daily News.
Liang, Qichao 梁启超. (1902–1906) 1994. Xinmin shuo 新民说 (On the New Citizen). Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe.
Lei, Yi 雷颐. 2015. “Yizhan yu ‘xin rujia’ de yuanqi: yi ‘ke xuan lunzhan’ wei zhongxin 一战与“新儒家”的源起: 以“科玄之争”为中心 (The First World War and the Rise of ‘New Confucianism’: A Case Study of the ‘Debate on Science and Metaphysics’).” In Yi zhan yu Zhongguo 一战与中国 (The First World War and China), edited by Wei Gelin 魏格林, and Zhu Jiaming 朱嘉明, 107–24. Beijing: Dongfang chubanshe.
Li, Zehou 李泽厚. 1987. “Qimeng yu jiuwang de shuangchong bianzou 启蒙与救亡的双重变奏 (Variations on the Double Theme of Enlightenment and National Salvation).” In Zhongguo xiandai sixiang shilun 中国现代思想史论 (Essays in the History of Modern Chinese Thought), 7–49. Beijing: Dongfang chubanshe.
Lin, Tongji 林同济. (1940) 1983. “Zhanguo shidai de chongyan 战国时代的重演 (The Recurrence of the Warring States Period).” Reprinted in Zhongguo xiandai sixiang shi ziliao jianbian 中国现代思想史资料简编 (A Concise Sourcebook in Modern Chinese Intellectual History), edited by Jiang Yihua 姜义华, vol. 4, 442–52. Hangzhou: Zhejiang renmin chubanshe.
Luo, Zhitian 罗志田. 2000. “Zouxiang guoxue yu shixue de ‘Sai xiansheng’ – wusi qianhou Zhongguoren xinmu zhong de ‘kexue’ yi li 走向国学与史学的“赛先生”——五四前后中国人心目中的“科学”一例 (Toward National Learning and Historiography as ‘Mr. Science’—A Case Study of the May Fourth View of ‘Science’ in China).” Jindai shi yanjiu 近代史研究 (Studies in Modern History) 3: 59–94.
–––. 2017. Shifts of Power: Modern Chinese Thought and Society. Leiden and Boston: Brill.
Morrow, John. 1982. “British Idealism, ‘German Philosophy’ and the First World War.” Australian Journal of Politics & History 28 (3): 380–90.
Mou, Zongsan 牟宗三. (1979) 2003. “Wusi yu xiandaihua 五四與现代化 (May Fourth and Modernization).” In Shidai yu ganshou xubian 時代與感受續編 (Supplements to ‘Impressions of the Times’), 251–74. Vol. 24 of Mou Zongsan xiansheng quanji 牟宗三先生全集 (The Complete Works of Mou Zongsan), 32 vols. Taibei: Lianjing.
Sachsenmaier, Dominic. 2007. “Chinese Debates on Modernization after the Great War.” In Decentering America, edited by Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht, 109–31. New York: Berghahn Books.
Valéry, Paul. (1919) 1977. “The Crisis of the Mind.” In Paul Valéry: An Anthology, 94–107. London and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Van den Stock, Ady. 2016. The Horizon of Modernity: Subjectivity and Social Structure in New Confucian Philosophy. Leiden and Boston: Brill.
–––. (forthcoming). “Liang the Rural Reformer.” In Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Liang Shuming, edited by Thierry Meynard, and Philippe Major. Dordrecht: Springer.
Vrahimis, Andreas. 2015. “Legacies of German Idealism: From the Great War to the Analytic/Continental Divide.” Parrhesia 24: 83–106.
Wang, Hui 汪晖. 1989. “Yuyan yu weiji: Zhongguo xiandai lishi zhong de ‘wusi’ qimeng yundong 预言与危机：中国现代历史中的“五四”启蒙运动 (Prophecy and Crisis: the ‘May Fourth’ Enlightenment Movement in Modern Chinese History).” Wenxue pinglun 文学评论 (Literary Review) 3: 15–25; 4: 35–47.
–––. 2008. “Scientific Worldview, Culture Debates, and the Reclassification of Knowledge in Twentieth-Century China.” boundary 2, 35 (2): 125–55.
–––. 2016. “The Transformation of Culture and Politics: War, Revolution, and the ‘War of Ideas’ in the 1910s.” In China’s Twentieth Century, edited by Saul Thomas, 41–109. London and New York: Verso.
Wang, Yuanhua 王元化. 2000. “Du Yaquan yu dong xi wenhua wenti lunzhan 杜亚泉与东西文化问题论战 (Du Yaquan and the Debate on the Problem of Eastern and Western Cultures).” In Ershi shiji Zhongguo sixiang shilun 二十世纪中国思想史论 (Essays in the History of Twentieth-Century Chinese Thought), edited by Xu Jilin 许纪霖, vol. 1, 275–95. Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin.
Xie, Zhensheng 谢振声. 1988. “Du Yaquan zhuanlüe 杜亚泉传略 (A Short Biography of Du Yaquan).” Zhongguo keji shiliao 中国科技史料 (Documents in the History of Science and Technology in China) 9 (3): 8–14.
Xu, Guoqi. 2005. China and the Great War: China’s Pursuit of a New National Identity and Internationalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Xu, Jilin. 2018. “Two Kinds of Enlightenment: Civilizational Consciousness or Cultural Consciousness.” In Rethinking China’s Rise: A Liberal Critique, 155–90. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zhang, Fan 张帆. 2016. “‘Li’ yu ‘li’ zhi jian: ouzhan yujing xia Zhongguo ‘kexue’ gainian de daode kunjing yu yiyi zhuanxiang “力”与“理”之间：欧战语境下中国“科学”概念的道德困境与意义转向 (Between ‘Force’ and ‘Principle’: The Moral Predicament and Change in Meaning of the Chinese Conception of ‘Science’ in the Context of the Great War).” Xueshu yuekan 学术月刊 (Academic Monthly) 48 (7): 109–22.
Zhang, Junmai 张君劢. (1922) 1981. “Ouzhou wenhua zhi weiji ji Zhongguo xin wenhua zhi quxiang 欧洲文化之危机及中国新文化之趋向 (The Crisis of European Culture and the Direction of China’s New Culture).” Reprinted in Zhongguo xiandai zhexue shi ziliao huibian: dongxi wenhua lunzhan 中国现代哲学史资料汇编：东西文化论战 (Collected Documents in the History of Modern Chinese Philosophy: The Debate on Eastern and Western Cultures), edited by Zhong Limeng 钟离蒙, and Yang Fenglin 杨凤麟, 235–39. Shenyang: Liaoning daxue chubanshe.
Zhao, Bing 赵兵. 2017. “Ouzhan qianhou Zhongguo xin wenhua yundong zhong de ‘Deyizhi jingshen’ ji qi zhuanxiang 欧战前后中国新文化运动中的“德意志精神”及其转向 (The Notion of the ‘German Spirit’ during the New Culture Movement and its Transformation in the Period of the First World War.)” Deguo yanjiu 德国研究 (German Studies) 32 (1): 102–17.
Zheng, Dahua. 郑大华. 2002. “Di yi ci shijie dazhan yu zhanhou Zhongguo wenhua baoshouzhuyi sichao de xingqi 第一次世界大战与战后中国文化保守主义思潮的兴起 (The First World War and the Postwar Rise of Cultural Conservatism in China).” Zhejiang xuekan 浙江学刊 (Zhejiang Journal) 5: 38–50.
Zheng, Shiqu 郑师渠. 1997. “Lun ouzhan hou Zhongguo shehui wenhua sichao de biandong 论欧战后中国社会文化思潮的变动 (Changed Conceptions of Society and Culture in China after the Great War).” Jindai shi yanjiu 近代史研究 (Studies in Modern History) 3: 207–21.
–––. 2006. “Ouzhan hou Liang Qichao de wenhua zijue 欧战后梁启超的文化自觉 (Liang Qichao’s Postwar Cultural Consciousness).” Beijing shifandaxue xuebao 北京师范大学学报 (Journal of Beijing Normal University) 3: 49–59.
–––. 2008. “Ouzhan qianhou guoren de xiandaixing fansheng 欧战前后国人的现代性反省 (Chinese Reflections on Modernity Around the Time of the Great War).” Lishi yanjiu 历史研究 (Historical Research) 1: 82–106.
–––. 2011. “Ouzhan hou guoren de ‘dui Xifang qiu jiefang’ 欧战后国人的“对西方求解放”(The Chinese Search for ‘Liberation from the West’ Following the End of the Great War).” Beijing shifandaxue xuebao 北京师范大学学报 (Journal of Beijing Normal University) 2: 64–79.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Ady Van den Stock
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal Asian Studies by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.