A Conceptual History of Chinese -Isms
Ivo Spira, University of Oslo
In A Conceptual History of Chinese -Isms, Ivo Spira explores the linguistic and rhetorical development of Chinese -isms, as well as the key concept zhǔyì 主義 ('ism') itself. He argues that the introduction of this concept from Japan in the 1890s inaugurated an 'Age of -Isms', in which it served as a conceptual focus for the stereotypical categorization of people and the utopian imagination of the future.
The book focuses on Chinese -isms in the formative period (1895–1925) through a close reading of key primary sources, covering linguistic, conceptual, and rhetorical aspects of their use in ideological reasoning. Spira emphasizes the combination of internal (traditional) and external (Western and Japanese) factors in the emergence of Chinese -isms.