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The Power of PositionBeijing University, Intellectuals, and Chinese Political Culture, 1898-1929$
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Timothy Weston

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520237674

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520237674.001.0001

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Between the Old Culture and the New

Between the Old Culture and the New

(p.114) Chapter 4 Between the Old Culture and the New
The Power of Position

Timothy B. Weston

University of California Press

Most of the radical ideas that captured the imagination of China's progressive intellectuals during the New Culture Movement began to crystallize after the catastrophic Second Revolution among a loose network of thinkers and political activists, most of whom were outside China. The extraordinary impact of Cai Yuanpei's reform program at Beida derived as much from the timing of his arrival in Beijing as it did from the content of his message. Cai's appointment of Chen Duxiu illustrates that his defense of broad-minded tolerance benefited those who sought to challenge the prevailing culture at Beida. Cai encouraged students to participate in educationally and morally uplifting extracurricular activities. He and the other new leaders of the university provided a crucial opening for professors and students who felt less ambivalent than he did about interpreting Beida's educational mission in an explicitly political fashion.

Keywords:   Cai Yuanpei, Beida, New Culture Movement, Second Revolution, Beijing, Chen Duxiu

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