From “Academic” to “Politic”: The Appropriation of the Concept of Consciousness (1890-1940)

The emerging of many newly coined words with a great diversity of new concepts were imported into China with tremendous cultural effect. These newly coined words and concepts were mostly translated by the intellectuals. Especially, they translated many new terms invented by the Japanese. The variety of new terms came up during Late Imperial China with a plentiful of knowledge and ideas. Each one of these newly coined words would turn into a keyword in the Modern China, continuing making influence on chinese world of language and thought. This article describes the historical process of the newly coined word “consciousness,” which became a keyword of Modern China. I will depict this historical picture from three aspects: the translating activities during modern period; the western psychology; the appropriation of the concept among much kinds of hostile atmosphere. Keywords: consciousness, newly coined word, keyword, psychology, appropriation

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