Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate
Memories of Empire in a New Global Context

Charles Horner

As China debates its past, how will it define its future?


"Horner looks to many different Chinas as they interact with various world systems. Rather than taking a narrow view of strategy, he sees the combination of the civil and the military as an 'intellectually creative activity' that appeals to the 'strategic imagination' of history, literature, art, architecture and urban planning. Rather than define the future in singular terms, Horner charts the complexities of China's many hopes, dreams, anxieties, and ambivalences."
—William Callahan, Journal of Asian Studies

"This book connects China's past, present, and future and places them in a larger, evolving context. Horner's work is nothing short of a tour de force of world intellectual history as projected and contested on the canvas that is China."
Naval War College Review

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China's sense of today and its view of tomorrow are both rooted in the past—and we need to understand that connection, says China scholar Charles Horner. In Rising China and Its Postmodern Fate, Horner offers a new interpretation of how China's changed view of its modern historical experience has also changed China's understanding of its long intellectual and cultural tradition. Spirited reevaluations of history, strategy, commerce, and literature are cooperating—and competing—to define the future.

The capstone of modern China was the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 and its rejection of Confucianism, capitalism, and modernity. Yet today's rising China retains few vestiges of what Mao wrought. What then, Horner asks, is post-Mao, postmodern China? Where did it come from? How did it get here? Where is it going?

Contemporary views of the great periods in Chinese history are having a significant influence on the development of rising China's national strategy, says Horner. He looks at the revival of interest in, and changing interpretations of, three dynasties—the Yuan (1272-1368), the Ming (1368-1644), and the Qing (1644-1912)—that, together with the People's Republic of China, provide examples of great power success.

The future of every major country is now connected to China's, and this book explains how China, now seeing itself as the complex and thriving result of the old and the new, is poised to change the world.

Studies in Security and International Affairs

Page count: 240 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $26.95

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Charles Horner, a student of China for four decades, is Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. He has served in the Department of State, taught at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and been a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the National Interest.