Global history vision and national history concept: two dimensions of modern borderland history research

DUAN Jinsheng1

(1.School of Humanities, Yunnan Minzu University, Kunming, Yunnan 650031)

【Abstract】Modern borderland studies, especially those of the Republic of China, have increasingly attracted wide attention in academic circles. This is not only the result of the natural development of the internal academic theory of academic research but also closely related to the historical reflection on borderland issues by all walks of life currently. In recent years, although the achievements of modern borderland research have been fruitful, the research thinking of “local history,” which emphasizes the specialty of a borderland in a one-sided manner, has become increasingly prominent. However, if researchers pay too much attention to the specialty and neglect the overall relationship between borderlands and a state, they will easily produce some “localized” one-sided knowledge in the sense of understanding and perception, and overlook totality and comprehensiveness. Modern borderland research should pay attention to the discussion of the different aspects of borderlands, but should not ignore the thinking and understanding of putting it into the overall context of modern national construction and development. And such research should have the vision of global history and the concept of national history. Based on historical materialism and historical data, this paper puts the formation of modern China’s borderland crisis, state view and borderland view under the background of global history. In one aspect, this paper analyzes how modern capitalist globalization reshaped the traditional Chinese concept of time and space and political ethics, and in another, it illustrates that the invasion of foreign powers on China’s borderlands was itself a part of global economic and political reconstruction at the time. The research holds that the borderland issue in modern China is an inevitable reflection of the fact that modern China was dragged into the global market system by the great powers. With the formation of the modern global market system of capitalism, China’s borderlands have also been incorporated into the whole political and economic system of China. Therefore, researchers should adhere to the global vision and at the same time insist on putting their research in a grand scenario of national development for systematic total and comprehensive thinking. Compared with previous studies, this paper has its own considerations in the following two aspects: first, China’s borderland research needs to change the traditional “self”-centered perspective and start from a global perspective for overall thinking. The borderland issue in modern times no longer just consists of internal and external issues in the traditional “self”-centered order, but domestic and diplomatic issues under the great changes in the international pattern, which is an important link in the globalization process of industrial civilization. Of course, borderland research should pay attention to and reflect this substantial factor that led to the borderland issue in modern China; and then, to some extent, the current borderland research ignores the multi-dimensional thinking of exploring the context of the borderland issue from the overall aspect of national development, that is, the three-dimensional analysis of regional local issues from the overall national and macro perspectives is relatively weak. The research of this paper attempts to expound the path and internal logic that China’s borderland research should adhere to from the perspectives of global history and national history. This study can provide a kind of historical thinking and references for judging, understanding and formulating policies and measures related to borderlands, and at the same time, it is hoped that the academic circles will pay attention to further discussions on the trend, orientation and value of borderland research from theoretical and academic perspectives.

【Keywords】 modern borderlands; global history vision ; national history concept ;


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CN: 11-2795/K

Vol 30, No. 01, Pages 13-18+213

March 2020


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