China in the German enlightenment

Bettina Brandt, Daniel Leonhard Purdy

Research output: Book/ReportBook

15 Scopus citations


Over the course of the eighteenth century, European intellectuals shifted from admiring China as a utopian place of wonder to despising it as a backwards and despotic state. That transformation had little to do with changes in China itself, and everything to do with Enlightenment conceptions of political identity and Europe’s own burgeoning global power. China in the German Enlightenment considers the place of German philosophy, particularly the work of Leibniz, Goethe, Herder, and Hegel, in this development. Beginning with the first English translation of Walter Demel’s classic essay "How the Chinese Became Yellow," the collection’s essays examine the connections between eighteenth-century philosophy, German Orientalism, and the origins of modern race theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherUniversity of Toronto Press
Number of pages212
ISBN (Electronic)9781442616998
ISBN (Print)9781442648456
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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