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Reform and Revolution

The revolution of 1911 and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 are historical events of major importance for the Chinese people and of enormous interest for academic studies on the history of modern China. During the last 60 years, the research done in mainland China, Taiwan and overseas on this subject has been characterized by different waves of academic trends.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the academic research on this subject in mainland China obviously has extricated itself from the dominant political ideologies and, therefore, new historical findings and interpretations have been presented to the academic world. At the same time, the research activities in Taiwan have decreased because of recent political trends and the lack of new primary sources on that period. As a result, articles in academic journals by Taiwanese scholars have been rather rare during the last few years. However, by the time of the 100th anniversary of the revolution of 1911 and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912, not only are state officials as well as researchers both in mainland China and Taiwan preparing commemorative activities; we can also observe a new wave of academic research on this subject. Research focusing on the revolution of 1911 and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 is flourishing.

It is against this background that the Department of East Asian Studies/Sinology at the University of Vienna has decided to hold the conference “Reform and Revolution: In commemoration of the Xinhai Revolution and 100 years of state building” between January 8 and 13, 2012. The main goal is to provide an international academic platform, where scholars of Chinese history will review, investigate and discuss – in an open and constructive atmosphere – the deep-going influence of the revolution of 1911 on China’s historical path through revolution, reform and transition during the last century.

In fact, there are already several examples of very successful international conferences on this subject, such as the conferences in Chicago and Honolulu (USA) on the occasion of the 70th and 80th anniversary, respectively. We are convinced that the conference in Vienna in 2012 will follow their examples and have a positive and groundbreaking effect on the study of the revolution of 1911 and the subsequent efforts of state building in Greater China.

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