Country and regional studies need the support of civilization history

“Country and regional studies” has risen in China in recent years, especially in foreign language colleges in universities, and it has become a second-level discipline under the first-level discipline foreign language and literature. This is the due meaning of China becoming a world power, opening to the outside world in an all-round way and participating in global governance. The strategy should be based on academics, and the way of great power needs the support of great powers. This is the problem awareness of the rise of “national and regional studies”, and it draws on the experience of regional research that emerged in the United States after World War II.

During the British Empire, the London School of Asian and African Studies was the most important academic institution for the British to master Asian and African colonial knowledge. After World War II, the United States replaced the British Empire, and regional studies rose in the United States. The US-led globalization rules are backed by their economic and military hegemony, but they cannot be separated from the high degree of coordination of regional research.

However, when we draw on the experience of regional studies in the United States, we still only know one or the other. Regional studies by well-known American scholars such as Kissinger, Huntington, and others are inseparable from the history of civilization. Regional research in the United States is not conducted independently from the mainstream of academic studies, but is matched with the study of its own civilization history. The deepest logic of regional research is the logic of civilization and value. The study of the history of civilization and regional research are indispensable. This is where the current blind spot in national and regional research is.

It is not advisable to understand other countries in a whiteboard manner. Only with the subjectivity of civilization can we understand each other more deeply. In turn, understanding of others and other countries and comparisons with each other also help deepen their understanding of themselves. Therefore, national and regional studies are inseparable from a deep understanding of the history of Chinese civilization. China’s civilized tradition is a living tradition. It is not a museum’s display, but is as endless as the source of artesian water, without distinction between past, present and future. Therefore, we must deeply understand the continuity of the socialist system and China’s more than 5,000 years of civilization and tradition, and establish a consistent theoretical interpretation of the Chinese civilization from culture and value to the system from ancient to modern times. Huntington raised the question of “who is an American”. His view is based on the deeply rooted enemy-self thinking in the West behind the clash of civilizations, but the Chinese civilization has a thinking tradition of tolerance, complementarity, mutual learning and achievement. This should be the key to our country and regional studies going beyond Western colonial studies.

National and regional studies are inseparable from a deep understanding of the Chinese revolutionary anti-imperialist and anti-feudal spiritual heritage, and from the understanding of the problems brought about by socialism to overcome and transcend liberal globalization. In this way, we can understand the history of their colonization by the West again in the country and regional studies on the countries along the “Belt and Road” and neighboring countries such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, and so on. Rediscovery of values ​​and self-affirmation. The “Belt and Road” in history is a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and reciprocity. In ancient China, the principle of civilization with “big things and small things” was pursued. From the standpoint of the other side, the meeting point of the interests of both parties was considered. “. It is the righteousness and the long-term interests that are suitable for both parties. This is the value that the “Belt and Road” countries can share and the long-term way that Chinese civilization attaches great importance to.

Language is the beginning, not the end, of country and regional studies. Specialized studies in languages, history, religion, culture, and contemporary politics, economics, and society should be combined. Literature research should be combined with field research, and country and regional studies should be combined with international relations studies. At present, international relations also lack the depth of the history of civilization, and also need to be combined with the study of the history of world civilization and the history of Chinese civilization. The history of civilization and regional studies should be the two wings of national and regional studies.