Jiang Sun
Pages 1-9


Ten years ago, conceptual history was still relatively unknown in Chinese academic circles. But within just a single decade, it has already emerged as a very popular field among scholars. When broaching conceptual history, the first thing to make clear is that, whether we’re speaking of a research field or a methodology, this is a scholarly tradition rooted in Germany. Hence, if we are to apply conceptual historical methods to China and carry out transcultural conceptual historical research here, we must understand the basic connotations of conceptual history. Reinhart Koselleck’s introduction to 8 volumes of Basic Concepts of History: An Historical Lexicon of Political and Social Terms in Germany (Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland) is an essential text in conceptual history (1972, Bd.1). In this work, Koselleck proposes three These (theses) for conceptual history: concepts are historical, criteria for the “four changes” of basic historical concepts, and the “saddle period.”