ABSTRACT

Compared with Said’s Orientalism, Sinologism has a distinct difference in human resources. It is the plain fact that scholars engaged in Sinology and China studies are composed of those who are Chinese and those who are Western in ethnic origin. Due to this factor of ethnic origin, the politics of scholarship covered by Sinologism is much more colorful and complex. In his study of problems of historical writings on China, Paul Cohen observes that the “[s]upreme problem . . . has been one of ethnocentric distortion.”1 One source of the problem is attributed to the West, another to the Chinese. He also uses the terms “insiders” and “outsiders” to characterize Chinese and Western scholars respectively. The ethnic factor exerts an impact on the mentality of scholars in the field, which sometimes develops into what may be called identity politics in scholarship, and adversely affects conceptions and uses of paradigms of scholarship. Since few scholars entangled in the identity politics are consciously aware of ethnic identity at work, or willing to acknowledge it, the mentality responsible for the impact on ways of doing scholarship may be called the “ethnic unconscious” or “intellectual unconscious.” In this chapter I will conduct some case studies to show how the ethnic unconscious operates, how it develops into an intellectual unconscious, what adverse effects it produces on scholarship, and how it is repressed even though it is clearly identified.