Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience
"This bold, intellectually ambitious, and wholly original book challenges the way in which Western social science understands China. . . . It will set the standard for all future comparative and theoretical research on China."—Timothy Brook, Stanford University
"This is a most extraordinary book. Wong's approach is to explore carefully similarities and differences between Chinese and European development over the long term, highlighting themes related to state-making and popular action. This is by far the most sophisticated, extended discussion of imperial and modern China in comparative perspective that I have seen."—Peter C. Perdue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The assumption still made in much social science research that Europe provides a universal model of development is fundamentally mistaken, according to R. Bin Wong. The solution is not, however, simply to reject Eurocentric norms but to build complementary perspectives, such as a Sinocentric one, to evaluate current understandings of European developments. A genuinely comparative perspective, he argues, will free China from wrong expectations and will allow those working on European problems to recognize the distinct character of Western development.