The_Core_of_the_Middle_Kingdom_Making_of - Big Session 1...

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Big Session 1: World Empires and Supra-regional Networks The Core of the “Middle Kingdom” Making of the capital area during the Ming China TAGUCHI Kojiro (Otemon Gakuin University) The First Congress of the Asian Association of World Historians (AAWH) 29-31 May, 2009, Osaka, Japan
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- 1 - The Core of the “Middle Kingdom” Making of the capital area during the Ming China TAGUCHI Kojiro (Otemon Gakuin University) 0. Introduction Immanuel Wallerstein states that national state (e.g. India, China, or Great Britain), is “an invention of the Modern World System” 1 . This proposition is not so surprising if we acce pt “modernist” (or “revisionist”) views about nation-building, which claims that none of human groups formed homogeneous and ethnographically /politically/sociologically significant entity during pre-modern period, and therefore before MODERN period there is no NATIONAL unity as a subject of collective behavior (hence a significant unit of analysis) 2 . Likewise, in Japan, naïve and/or conventional views on national historiography, in which “ethnicity” during pre -modern period is simply classed with that of present national states, has not been so fully accepted as before 3 . If these modernist/revisionist propositions as such are true, then, the problem for global historiography seems to be very simple: how can we DEPICT numerous actors during pre-modern world 4 , not merely as the total sum of co-existing polities isolated from each other? In this respect, as is frequently referred to by number of historians, the world system approach provides a theoretical framework. And therefore it has been invoking controversial arguments among the students of history and other disciplines. Some of Japanese historians of Central Eurasia hold, just as what an urban sociologist Janet Abu-Lughod also argues, that the world order before “European hegemony” to be maintained by nomadic polities such as the Mongol Empire 5 . Andre Gunter Frank also made China (one of) the core(s) of the world system(s) even after the 15th century, in that it attracted gigantic flow of silver bullion along with the incoming of the Age of Commerce 6 . However, as I will discuss in section 1, Wallersteineans (or Wallerstein himself, at least) seem to utilize the term “system” more strictly (in Talcott Parsons’ way), and distinguish these world empires like the Mongol s with what he calls the modern world system. 1 I. Wallerstein, Unthinking Social Science , Polity Press, 1991: p.130. 2 Eg. E. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism , Blackwell, 1983; B. Anderson, Imagined Communities , revised edition, Verso, 1991. 3 As for the literatures in Japan on nation-buildings of China (and Japan), see E. Oguma, Tan’itsu Minzoku Shinwa no Kigen (The Origin of Uni-Ethnicity Myths) , Shin’yo -sha, 1995; S. Yoshizawa, Aikoku-shugi no Sousei (An Invention of Nationalism) , Iwanami Shoten, 2003; H. Sakamoto, Chugoku Minzoku-shugi no Shinwa (Mythology of Nationalism in China) , Iwanami Shoten, 2004.
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