The Theory of the“Commercial Society” in the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th Century: A Study Focused on Adam Smith /Li Hongtu(4)
The British School Health Service in the 20th Century /Wei Xiuchun(18)
The Role of the Port Jews in the Early Modern Trans-Atlantic Trade /Ai Rengui(32)
The Writing of Chorographies by the Gentry in Early Modern England /Chen Rihua(46)
The “Canonization” of Lex Salica and the Anti-Women Tradition in the Politics and Culture of France in the 16th and 17th Centuries /Tang Xiaoyan(60)
The Crisis of Feudalism and the Reestablishment of Order: The Labor Law and the
Social-Political Interaction in Late Medieval England /Xu Mingjie(74)
The “Environmental Anxiety” and the Construction of Anti-Chinese Discourse in the Australian Colonies /Fei Sheng(87)
New Institutions and Old Systems: The Imperial Politics during the Reign of Mahmud II /Wang Sanyi(99)
The State of Honesty of the Early Modern Japanese in Western Eyes: The Concept of “Chonin Konjo” /Zhang Xiaolong(110)
From Historical Civilization to Historical Space: The Shift in the Perception of Geography in New Studies of Indian History /Wang Lixin(123)
A Review of Studies on the Frontier and Territorial Disputes in Africa by Foreign Researchers in the Second Half of the 20th Century /Guan Peifeng(141)
SUMMARIES OF ARTICLES
Li Hongtu, The Theory of the“Commercial Society” in the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th Century: A Study Focused on Adam Smith
Unlike the French Enlightenment, the theoretical basis of the Scottish Enlightenment was laid down by Adam Smith who proposed a theory of the “commercial society”. The majority of the thinkers in the 17th and 18th centuries usually analyzed the modern transition from a political perspective, but Smith chose the market as his starting point, discussed the moral basis of the “commercial society” and established “self-interest” as the core of the modern morality. In the market context,the operational mechanism of the“commercial society” changed, the market exchange was adopted by the entire society as its basis and principle. The prerequisite and purpose of the market exchange was to realize the fairness, which would bring the entire society the freedom， civilization and prosperity. Smith's theory was revolutionary and formed the cornerstone of the modern society, defining its fundamental features and promoting its establishment as well.
Wei Xiuchun, The British School Health Service in the 20th Century
In the early 20th century, the idea of “children of the nation” became a consensus in the sociopolitical strata in Britain, which required the nation to take the responsibility for the upbringing of British children. Hence, when the Boer War made children's health in schools as a prominent issue, the British authority passed a series of laws and regulations to establish a health service system in schools. School meals and school medical services were implemented, and the Education Act was passed in 1944. This system not only provided the health foundation for the implementation of the compulsory education, but also brought new possibilities for a national healthcare and welfare system. Functioning until 1974, the system effectively ensured the health of British school children, protected the education rights of handicapped children, facilitated the development of the child dentistry, and promoted the popularization of the children health education.
Ai Rengui, The Role of the Port Jews in the Early Modern Trans-Atlantic Trade
Since the Age of Discovery, a trade network was formed by virtue of vast economic connections and the Port Jews (mainly Sephardic Jews) played an important role in the trans-Atlantic economic system. During the 16th-18th centuries, the Port Jews achieved great success in international trade among major colonial empires. Being active in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Americas, West Africa and the Indian Ocean, the Port Jews became a major force in global economic communication. They were mainly engaged in colony-related trade exchanges, including slaves, sugar, tobacco, diamond, etc. As the backbone of the colonial expansion and the overseas trade, they facilitated the exchanges among civilizations through their active participation in the trans-Atlantic trade. Conversely, their commercial activities brought them an enormous living space and economic opportunities, greatly enriching and expanding the concept of the “Jewish Atlantic”.
Chen Rihua, The Writing of Chorographies by the Gentry in Early Modern England
The writing of chorographies in England began from the 1570s. William Lambarde's Perambulation of Kent is generally acknowledged as the first example of the chorography. From then on, there appeared with John Stow's The Survey of London, William Burton's The Description of Leicestershire, and William Dugdale's The Antiquities of Warwickshire. The writing of chorographies became prosperous. From the late 17th century, the context of natural history became a part of the chorography. It was the well-educated gentry who wrote the chorography. Some of the gentry were lawyers, heralds, and some of them were antiquarians. The authors of chorographies loved Britain and the nation, and at the same time they had strong feelings of local identification. It is the formation period of the nation state from the 16th century to the 17th century and the identification of locality and the nation state came into being. The cultural phenomenon on gentry writing the chorography also showed the identification of gentry community in early modern England.
Tang Xiaoyan, The “Canonization” of Lex Salica and the Anti-Women Tradition in the Politics and Culture of France in the 16th and 17th Centuries
The absence of queen in ruling was a phenomenon specific to the history of France and closely related to Lex Salica. Established in the 6th century, this civil code was retrieved in the 14th century and reactivated to forbid England from claiming the French throne during the Hundred Years' War and to cope with domestic separatist movements. With the compilation and reinterpretation by generations of scholars, the code became the basis for denying women's succession to the French throne in the 16th century. During this period, many female figures performed in the highest echelon of the French politics, which inevitably resulted in the reassessment of the social roles and duties of different genders. The debate on the political system and long-term formation of gender concepts, combined with the contingency of political events, resulted in the canonization of Lex Salica, which coincided with the theorization process of the anti-women tradition in French politics and culture. During the growth of a centralized nation, the political space for French women was gradually suppressed. The historical evolvement of the gender concept was deeply influenced by the development of the politics.
Xu Mingjie, The Crisis of Feudalism and the Reestablishment of Order: The Labor Law and the Social-Political Interaction in Late Medieval England
The labor law in late medieval England was realized by a massive movement of enactment led by the English crown as a reaction to the population crisis. The development of the labor law demonstrates the interaction between the politics and the social economy. For one thing, the weakening trend in content and implementation of the labor law indicates a decline of the feudal system. For another, the continuation of the labor law and certain effects achieved by the implementation of the labor law had great influence on the contemporary society and economy. Firstly, the labor law alleviated the labor crisis and helped to maintain the social stability, which preserved many elements of the old institution. Secondly, the monarchial government established new authorities in the social and economic spheres by virtue of the labor law, facilitating the transition of the state power from scattered feudal regime to a unified and centralized nation state.
Fei Sheng, The “Environmental Anxiety” and the Construction of Anti-Chinese Discourse in the Australian Colonies
In the second half of the 19th century, the communities of European immigrants in Australia integrated their anxieties concerning the environmental deterioration into the discourse of anti-Chinese racism through blaming Chinese immigrants for wasting nature resources, destroying the water-soil environment, and bringing the epidemics caused by the above behaviors in the Australian colonies. As soon as Chinese labors arrived in the Australian colonies, their interaction with the Australian environment was discussed by the public opinion. During the period of sheep farming expansion, Chinese labors were considered a group with higher ability to adapt the local environment. However, after the radical changes caused by the gold rushes, the public opinion censured the Chinese miners to directly destructed the production environment. The local political elites exaggerated that Chinese immigrants threatened the public health in the ecology of the colonies, and accordingly, stressed the reasonableness of their anti-Chinese policy. Through the examination of the Australian case, it is clear to show that the racial conflict deriving from the European colonization not only existed in the economic and cultural spheres, but contained the meaning of an ecological competition.
Wang Sanyi, New Institutions and Old Systems: The Imperial Politics during the Reign of Mahmud II
Mahmud II reformed the administration affiliated to the Ottoman Court by modelling the government departments of Western Europe. These departments, including the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Public Works Commission, etc., replaced the former bureaus. His reform also included the establishment of the Military Commission, the Supreme Council of Judicatures as well as the increase of the salary for civil servants. Although this reform was relatively comprehensive, the fundamental system of the empire was untouched. “Sultan-Khalifa” — the theocracy system of the state — was maintained; the “Millet” system — the management of minorities and non-Muslims — stayed intact; and the privileges of the hierarchical system were preserved. Furthermore, Mahmud II strengthened the control of local affairs and paid more attention to the loyalty of provinces and territories. His “new” army was not only an army with modern equipment, but also held absolute loyalty to the Sultan. However, Mahmud Ⅱ's political reform failed to solve the crisis. This failure was not due to the resistance of the religious rank and old forces, but was attributed to the superficiality resulted from the establishment of the new institutions, which were merely aimed at maintaining the old regime. Nevertheless, the economic aspect of his reform was remarkable, as the “Timar” system, tax farming, and traditional land system were abolished. This indicates that social progress is unattainable unless the institutional changes are realized.
Zhang Xiaolong, The State of Honesty of the Early Modern Japanese in Western Eyes: The Concept of “Chonin Konjo”
The problematic honesty of merchants in early modern Japan ultimately resulted from the low social status of “Chonin” — those who practiced business — in the feudal hierarchy and the consequent mean mentality, i.e., “Chonin Konjo”. At the beginning, this problem was confined in a single social group, and therefore did not seriously harm the international image of Japan. However, with the abolition of hierarchy after the Meiji Restoration, the concept of the social values was integrated. The honesty crisis of Japanese laborers in the U.S. in the 20th century demonstrated that the label of “Chonin Konjo” was no longer confined to merchants, but became a part of the early modern Japanese national characters.Comparing the honesty of Japanese and Chinese migrants, the American society had great doubts on the trustworthiness of Japanese people. The lack of the sense of contract was considered a general flaw of the Japanese morality. This notion was later expanded to the political sphere and the doubt on the Japanese was gradually “nationalized”, resulting in a deterioration of the image of Japan.
Wang Lixin, From Historical Civilization to Historical Space: The Shift in the Perception of Geography in New Studies of Indian History
Represented by the Oxford History of India and the Cambridge History of India, orthodox Indian history studies construed the geography of India as homologous and closed. This historical geographical interpretation, together with the notion of oriental despotism, formed the basis for the traditional understandings of Indian civilization. After the 1980s, many new studies (e.g., the New Cambridge History of India) reconstructed this historical geography by describing India as a heterogeneous and open land and decomposed the theory of oriental despotism, which altered the traditional interpretation of Indian civilization. Shifting the focus from civilization to space, what these new studies construed was a notion of historical space.
Guan Peifeng, A Review of Studies on the Frontier and Territorial Disputes in Africa by Foreign Researchers in the Second Half of the 20th Century
African nations gained their independence after WWII, and their frontier and territorial disputes became a hot topic in the second half of the 20th century which attracted the attention of foreign researchers on African issues for a long time. From the published monographs and articles, it can be found that the most popular topics among researchers included the cause of the African frontier and territorial disputes, the hot cases of these disputes, the OAU (Organization of African Unity) and the resolutions of the disputes, and the relevant legal issues in those disputes. They reached a consensus on certain issues respectively, but they also believed that some issues still required further studies. Interdisciplinary studies, especially the combination of history, politics and international law, are likely to be the future trend in this field.