The Intellectual Origins of Lin Yutang's Cultural Internationalism, 1928-1938

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2009

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Title of thesis: THE INTELLECTUAL ORIGINS OF LIN YUTANG'S CULTURAL INTERNATIONALISM, 1928-1938

Madalina Yuk-Ling Lee, Master of Arts, 2009

Thesis directed by:

Professor James Z. Gao

Department of History

Cultural internationalism is international relations guided by intercultural affairs rather than by interstate affairs. From the outset of modern international history, two models of cultural internationalism have emerged--symmetrical and asymmetrical. The asymmetrical model--the one-way import of cultural ideas--was reserved for the non-Western world. China under the Chiang Kai-shek regime naturally falls under the asymmetrical model. The symmetrical model--the reciprocal exchange of cultural ideas--was reserved for the intra-Western world.

My study shows how Lin Yutang, in 1935, defied the restrictions of the symmetrical model and implemented symmetrical cultural internationalism--reciprocal cultural exchange with the Western world--with incredible success.

My study also contributes a new analytical framework for cross-cultural studies by analyzing the ideology and methodology of Lin Yutang's framework from the perspective of cultural internationalism. Moreover, this study traces the origin of Lin's framework to one of the New Culture paradigms conceived by Hu Shi and Zhou Zuoren.

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