top of page

Chinese Historiography of the Last Forty Years (1978-2018) I

Title: Chinese Historiography of the Last Forty Years (1978-2018) I

Edited by Zhang Haipeng

Translated by Wang Yi, et al.

ISBN: 978-1-84464-777-4

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-84464-778-1

Hardback - 398 pages

August 2023


£75 €90 $120



Chinese Historiography of the Last Forty Years (1978-2018) is an edited volume, in which the Chinese historians review the research achievements of the study of history in China in the past 40 years since the reform and opening up in 1978, and create an overview of the academic prospects and trends. In its entirety, this volume encompasses Chinese archaeology, ancient Chinese history, and modern Chinese history, as well as some thematic studies, such as local history, ethnic history, frontier history, historical geography, economic history, social history, ideological and cultural history, historiography, historical theory, urban history, religious history, world history and the history of World War II. The authors of the volume are leading scholars in each branch of history studies. It provides the readers with an accessible and valuable reference in studying history, particularly the history of China and East Asia.

This book gives a comprehensive review on the study of history. It covers a general description of the study of history as well as other philosophical and social sciences in China which have benefited from rapid progress in every cause under the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the development of the national economy.

It is an Innovation in the Study of World History. In accordance with principles of historical materialism and seeking truth from facts, researchers engaging in world history studies should take on the responsibilities of grasping the significant events that impacted world history and comprehending the comprehensive development of world history from the relations between these events and the world. China’s peaceful rise and its growing, widening connections with the world require to focus on world history in historical studies to construct a more inclusive discipline of world history.




Preface 1

Preface 2

Translators’ Note

Part Ⅰ

Chapter 01 A Review of the Study of History in China in the Past Forty Years

A Comprehensive Review on the Study of History

Significant Achievement in the Study of Ancient Chinese History

New Understanding of the Study of Modern Chinese History

Innovation in the Study of World History

China’s Own Theoretical Framework and Narrative Discourse in Historical Studies

Promoting the Correct Understanding and Use of Historical Materialism

Chapter 02 Archaeological Discoveries since 1949 and Their Contribution to the Study of China’s Pre-imperial History

Origin of the Chinese People and Their Culture

The Formation of Ancient Chinese Civilization

Environmental and Mechanistic Issues in the Formation of Ancient Chinese Civilization Epilogue

Chapter 03 Research on Ancient Chinese History in the

Forty Years of Reform and Opening-up

Changes in Research Environment and the Cultivation of Academic Talent.

Expand the Research Field and Perfect the Discipline System

The Transformation of Theoretical Perspective and the Updating of Research Methods

The Guiding Position of Historical Materialism and the Future of the Study of Ancient Chinese History

Chapter 04 A Review of the History of the Republican

Period (1912-1949) since the Start of the Twenty First Century

Monographs on General History of Republican China

Thematic Studies of the History of the Republican Era

Conditions Related to Research on the History of the Republican Period

The Future of Research on the history of the Republican Era

Chapter 05 Review on Research of the History of the

People’s Republic of China in the Past Forty Years

Sketch of Research Developments of PRC History

Major Achievements in Research of PRC History

Research Hotspots of the History of the PRC

Retrospect and Prospect on the Studies of the PRC’s History

Chapter 06 Progress in Researches of World History

Since 2000





Chapter 07 Research on the History of the Second

World War in China

General Review of Research on World War II

Primary Research Areas and General Outcomes

Studies on Some Significant Issues


Chapter 08 Research on Local History, Regional History, and Ethnic History

The Rise and Development of Research on Local and Regional History

The Development and Flourishing of Research on Ethnic Minorities

Review of the Development of Research on Local, Regional, and Ethnic History

Chapter 09 The Prosperity and Development of Borderland History and Geography Research in the Past Forty Years


The Process of Constructing Chinese Borderland Studies

Initial Development of Research on Marxism and Theories of National Borderlands

The Emergence of the Research Paradigm of “Viewing China from the Frontier”

Tracing the Formation of “China’s Historical Territory” between History and Reality

Research on the Tributary System between History and Reality


Chapter 10 Years of Historical Geographical Studies in China

Structure of the Subject

The Development of the Traditional Topics

New Techniques, New Methodology, and New Realm


Chapter 11 Review and Prospects of Research on the Social and Economic History of China

The Boom Phase (1979-2007)

Introspection (2008-2018)

Crisis and Opportunity: Chinese Economic History in the 21ST Century

Chapter 12 The Development of the Discipline of Historiography in China in the Past Forty Years

Establishment of a New Disciplinary System and the Expansion of Research Territory

A Further Step of Study

Construction of Textual Sources

Discussion on Digital Historiography

Thoughts about Visions of the Development of Historiography in China


About the Authors:

Zhang Haipeng is a Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is the past president of the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the president of the Association of Chinese Historians, and a member of the State Council Academic Degrees Committee of China, in which he took charge of the Discipline (History) Appraisal Group.


Chinese Historiography of the Last Forty Years (1978-2018) I

Chinese Historiography of the Last Forty Years (1978-2018) II

bottom of page