History in politics: a “battle” of identity historical narratives between Chinese and Anglophone academia

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This article discusses an important political conflict of historical knowledge between Chinese and Anglophone academia. By exploring divergent perspectives either on long-term and coherent narratives of China or short-term and differentiated narratives of China through the founding issues of Historical Review (Lishi pinglun) established by the Chinese Academy of History in 2020, this article illustrates a ‘battle’ of narratives derived from different regimes of historical knowledge, either officially institutionalized in contemporary China or unofficially constituted in Anglophone academia. Specifically, by critically evaluating the discursive constructions of identity-driven historical narratives of both sides, this article gives a serious consideration to the Historical Review’s mission against the deconstructionist historical narratives. In so doing, I argue that even if it is true that the Historical Review contributors are nationalists and thus help radicalize Chinese nationalism, the liberalist deconstructionist historians of China in English academia are not free from the same types of ‘political contaminations’ by lighting the excessive fires of China bashing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-206
Number of pages28
JournalRethinking History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Chinese history
  • deconstruction
  • liberalism
  • nationalism
  • political knowledge
  • poststructuralism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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