Studies of the Chinese neologisms zōngjiào 宗教 and zhéxué 哲學 have been pursued along etymological and historical lines, focusing on works of particular intellectuals that employed these terms. I argue that these methods are limited in their explanatory power to indicate how these words become dominant terms representing new academic disciplines in 20th century China. There is a need to demonstrate how the these terms invoked new interests shaping East Asian intellectuals’ identities in differing 19th and 20th century cultural contexts. A dialectical cultural transformation is involved, as well as institutionalization processes reflecting the values associated with these neologisms. These Chinese words become dominant terms precisely because there was a new set of experiences which older terms could not articulate. Zōngjiào and zhéxué, therefore, not only emerged from external cultural sources, but also represented a new mentality among Chinese intellectuals involved in modern transformations of post-traditional Chinese cultures.
|Journal||International Journal of Chinese Character Studies|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- cultural transformation
- Chinese intellectuals' identity
- post-traditional Chinese culture