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Antiquity and perceptions of Chinese culture

What role does antiquity play in defining popular perceptions of Chinese culture? Kenneth W. Holloway confronted this issue recently with a set of bamboo manuscripts featured in the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Confucians have claimed these manuscripts while denying its relevance to the rest of early China. Excavated texts have the potential to transform our understanding of history, but we cannot force them to conform to long held intellectual frameworks.

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Kenneth Holloway is Associate Professor of History and Levenson Professor of Asian Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of The Quest for Ecstatic Morality in Early China.

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