The Evolution of American Contemporary China Studies: Coming Full Circle?

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Abstract

In the nearly 75 years that the People’s Republic of China has been in existence, the field of contemporary China studies in the United States has developed and evolved through six distinguishable ‘generations’ of scholarship. The evolving social science scholarly analyses of contemporary China have paralleled the changes in the PRC itself over time, but they have also reflected paradigmatic changes in scholarly disciplines in the United States. Other stimuli which have also impacted the field include domestic politics in America and shifts in US-China relations. This article traces the evolution of field (as observed and interpreted by the author); it concludes that while the field is generally very healthy, diverse, and enjoys great breadth and depth of knowledge, it faces significant new challenges for source material and research in Xi Jinping’s China.

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Shambaugh, D. (2024). The Evolution of American Contemporary China Studies: Coming Full Circle? Journal of Contemporary China, 33(146), 314–331. https://doi.org/10.1080/10670564.2023.2237918

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