Doctoral thesis

The Cultural Critique and Political Thought of Ku Hung-ming (1857–1928): Revisiting the Emergence of Modern Conservatism in China

ContributorsDong, Yufei
DirectorsZhang, Laure
Number of pages352
Imprimatur date2023
Defense date2023

The thesis aims at reexamining the emergence of modern Chinese conservatism via the study on Ku Hung-ming (1857–1928), a representative of that intellectual tradition. Born in Penang and educated in Edinburgh, Ku obtained the degree of Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh in 1877. Following his graduation, Ku travelled to a number of border cities and treaty ports in China before he entered the office of Chang Chih-tung in 1885. He then became a radical defender of the political order the civilisation of late Qing China. His conservative views on China was unique because it originated from the Scottish Enlightenment and intertwined with his later experience in China. Therefore, his knowledge structure and education experience made him a unique figure at the beginning of modern Chinese conservatism. This thesis will explore three intimate circles at three important stages of his intellectual life: first, the family and community network of Hokkien community in Penang; second, the intellectual tradition of Scottish Enlightenment and its influence on the education of Ku Hung-ming in Edinburgh; and finally, his engagement with the late Qing reform when working in the office of Chang Chih-tung, with a collaboration with a group of people on the publication of An Exhortation to Study. After locating Ku’s conservatism via these three networks, this thesis will demonstrate Ku's affiliation with constitutional monarchy and attempt to evaluate the boundaries of Ku’s ideas and argue that the 1911 Revolution was the turning point that Ku became a reactionary against the Revolution.

  • Ku Hung-ming
  • Modern Chinese Conservatism
  • Constitutional Monarchy
  • An Exhortation to Study
  • Chang Chih-tung
Citation (ISO format)
DONG, Yufei. The Cultural Critique and Political Thought of Ku Hung-ming (1857–1928): Revisiting the Emergence of Modern Conservatism in China. 2023. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:170226
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Technical informations

Creation07/05/2023 4:49:18 AM
First validation07/18/2023 6:50:03 AM
Update time09/28/2023 11:15:46 AM
Status update09/28/2023 11:15:46 AM
Last indexation02/01/2024 10:23:21 AM
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