Always Already and Never Yet: Does China even Have a Present?

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This essay traces how China's changing presents have been represented in Anglo-American discourse and in China studies from the Cold War to today. It shows how, in popular opinion but also in academia, that discourse has displayed a stubborn tendency to explain-or rather explain away-China's presents, configuring them strictly in relation to pasts that can never be overcome and futures that are either never realized or always dangerously looming. This ideological framing has its roots in Cold War anticommunism, which was foundational to China studies in the US, but lingers on to this day, as China's coevalness is continuously denied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-611
Number of pages11
JournalModern Intellectual History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 22 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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