Shuchen Xiang has just published a paper “Decolonising Sinology: on Sinology’s Weaponisation of the Discourse of Race” in Social Dynamics: A journal of African Studies. Please read on for the abstract and how to access the article:
The previous generation of Sinologists were of the overwhelming consensus that race consciousness did not exist in pre-modern China. However, in recent decades there has been a revision of this consensus. This paper frames this shift in terms of Sinology’s complicity with white supremacy, imperialism and the military-industrial-academic complex. Contemporary Sinology sets itself up as exposing a colonial mentality in pre-modern China. The irony is that it is contemporary Sinology which is complicit with white supremacy and itself is in need of decolonisation. This paper will analyse the most prominent example of this sea-shift in the Sinological consensus on race in China: Frank Dikötter’s The Discourse of Race in Modern China. That such scholarship, deficient in the most basic scholarly standards, was overwhelmingly feted upon its publication, continues to be cited as an authority and to receive inordinate recognition reveals Western academia’s problematic attitudes towards China and the issue of racism. This paper will show how all of the above phenomena can be understood in terms of the “epistemology of ignorance.” By misappropriating the discourse of the critical philosophy of race, Sinology’s epistemology of ignorance universalises Western racism. Sinology has weaponised the discourse of race.
To download, please visit the publisher webpage: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02533952.2023.2220589