Literature and Revolutionary China
In my opinion, the deep division within contemporary Chinese thought or
theory does not mainly reside in how to understand and criticize existing social
problems. Rather, major divisions exist more in the field of history. These divi-
sions are not so much due to entanglements about the facts of any particular
case, as historical materials can always be made to speak to different theories,
and individual cases can also be exaggerated by anyone who wishes to present
him or herself as an interpreter of history. Indeed, anyone can list a series of
individual cases to pass judgment on history. Ideas, class- specific memories,
positions, and even an individual’s physical senses, hidden behind dazzling
academic jargon and amid the sound and fury of self- delusional depoliticiza-
tion, in actuality all manifest a strong political quest, regardless of whether or
not one is willing to admit to it. Max Weber states that “you serve this god
and you offend the other god when you decide to adhere to this position.”1
1. Max Weber, “Part I Science and Politics,” From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, trans., ed.,
with an introduction by H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (New York: Oxford University Press,
1958), 77– 156.
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