On the Historical World as Concealed in Keywords

In the 1930s R. G. Collingwood suggested that ⬚⬚History is the living past⬚⬚ and knowledge of it is encapsulated in the very structure of present thought. During our research of Chinese modern political concepts we discovered that using keywords as the basis for revealing interaction between concept and social action, especially how social action counteracts on concept, enabled us to verify the above suggestions by Collingwood, as well as resolving its inherent conflicts. This essay further discusses how, when the study of keywords is expanded from its relation to concepts to an inclusion of events, namely different social actions related to subjects or objects, the analysis of keywords will be broadened from the realm of conceptual and intellectual history to include the whole humanistic discipline, with history as its core. The adoption of a method based on database analysis into the study of different keywords will lead to the rise of a type of digital humanist studies, with the study of East Asian conceptual history at its forefront. Keywords: history of East Asian concepts, history of concepts, database method, digital humanities
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