International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
Leftism in Republican China: A Historiographical Review


The research explores the historiography of Chinese leftism in the 1910s and 1930s, known as the Republican China, the studies of which was conducted by the Euro-American scholars from the 1980s to the 2000s. Framed under the modernist theory, historians of China in the 1980s investigated the rise and the fall of leftism in Republican China by focusing on state formation, party politics, militarization, as well as the capitalist development of industrialization and urbanization when imperialism, colonialism and global wars had fundamentally changed China’s politics and the state-society relationship. In the 1990s, especially after the PRC’s reform of market economy in the post-Mao era, historical studies of leftism sought for the roots of liberal democracy in the past that led to the political liberalism in the post-socialist China. It was until 2000, that historical research on Chinese leftism eventually departed from the nation-state/party politics and modernization paradigms. Instead, critical research of China’s political and intellectual history has positioned Chinese leftism and leftists into the global history of anti-colonialism, internationalism, and national independent movements in the 20th century.