This is a book on cross-cultural study, a very broad topic, but it was nevertheless initiated by a rather modest aim and focuses on aspects of China-West studies. For over two decades I have been preoccupied with these questions: why, for centuries, have the West and the world continuously produced knowledge about China that deviates from the realities of Chinese civilization? Why, since China was forced to enter the modern world after the Opium War (1839-1842), have Chinese intellectuals oscillated between exaggerated eulogies and masochistic condemnation of their own culture on the one hand, and between unhealthy fetishization and irrational dismissal of Western theories, paradigms, and approaches to scholarship and knowledge on the other? And why have some of the world’s most sagacious thinkers and most discerning critics expressed ideas of, and commentaries on, Chinese intellectual thought, literature, arts, and society, which border on fallacies or are downright wrong? Having observed numerous cases of inaccuracy and distortion in a variety of fields by both Chinese and Western intellectuals, I have come to the realization that the misperceptions of China by the West and misinterpretations of Chinese culture by the Chinese themselves do not simply come from the obvious factors of misinformation, biases and prejudices, or political interference; there is a fundamental logic sustained by epistemological and methodological underpinnings that has become a cultural unconscious. This unconsciousness further splits off into a series of unconsciousnesses, among which an intellectual and academic unconscious is located at the center. The conflicting images of China in the West’s produced knowledge and in the assessment by the Chinese themselves are but

the inevitable outcome of this cultural unconscious, lying at the heart of the overall misperception of China and constituting the inner logic of a comprehensive knowledge system, for which I have employed the term “Sinologism.” Since 1990 I have been determined to undertake a long-term inquiry into the inner logic that has troubled general knowledge production about China and the West. For this purpose I have prepared myself as best as I can, especially in critical theories. Naturally, Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism came to my attention first and became the major source of inspiration and insight. Indeed, since I first encountered Said in person at a public lecture during his tour, at the University of Kent at Canterbury, England in 1986, I have cherished the ambition to write a book that addresses Orientalist problems in China studies. Initially, however, I attempted to apply Said’s critical insights to relevant materials in China-West studies with the expected outcome of a book that would have this title, “Orientalism in Sinology.” But I gradually came to the disconcerting realization that effective as it is, Said’s theory of Orientalism turns out to be a square peg in the round hole of China-related materials, and the application of it often makes me feel as though one were scratching an itchy toe from outside one’s shoe. Said reiterated on several occasions that his book was written in response to the situation of domestic and international politics. As Said’s theory mainly deals with Westerners’ (both colonizers and scholars) problematic perception, conception, and evaluation of the cultures of the Middle East, it has left out the colonized people completely from his picture of Orientalism. Moreover, Said’s critical theory has not dealt with the attitudes toward and views of the colonized culture by the colonized people themselves. It is, therefore, understandable for some scholars to take issue with Said for completely leaving out the colonized people in his critical studies. Arif Dirlik is a vocal critic of this weakness in Orientalism:

Where orientalism as articulated by Said is wanting, I think, is in ignoring the ‘oriental’s’ participation in the unfolding of the discourse on the orient, which raises some questions both about the location of the discourse and, therefore, its implications for power. I have suggested above that orientalism, regardless of its ties to Eurocentrism both in origin and in its history, in some basic ways required the participation of ‘orientals’ for its legitimation. And in its practice, orientalism from the beginning took shape as an exchange of images and representations, corresponding to the circulation of intellectuals and others – first the circulation of Europeans in Asia, but increasingly with a counter-circulation of Asians in Europe and the United States.1