Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 125–141 | Cite as

History and Thought in China’s Traditions

  • Victoria Tin-bor HuiEmail author
Research Article


The recent turn to China’s traditions has the potential to correct for the Eurocentrism of Political Science theories. Nevertheless, the overwhelming emphasis on political thought, especially Confucianism, may have its drawbacks. This article suggests that political scientists who are interested in building theories and drawing policy implications should study the verifiable, i.e., history. Unless the purpose is to study philosophy for its own sake, political scientists should study political thought in practice, rather than political thought divorced from history. This article first discusses why it is important to examine history beyond thought. It then analyzes why scholars should not conflate political thought with historical practice. It anchors the analysis with a high-profile recent book on ancient Chinese thought.


Confucian Tradition Napoleonic-Clausewitzian Tradition Eurocentrism Sinocentrism International Norms 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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