Long before the Europeans reached the East, the ancient Chinese had elaborate and meaningful perspectives of the West. In this groundbreaking book, Wang explores their view of the West as other by locating it in the classical and imperial China, leading the reader through the history of Chinese geo-cosmologies and world-scapes. Wang also delves into the historical records of Chinese “world activities,” journeys that began from the Central Kingdom and reached towards the “outer regions.” Such analysis helps distinguish illusory geographies from realistic ones, while drawing attention to their interconnected natures.
Wang challenges an extensive number of critical studies of Orientalist narratives (including Edward Said’s Orientalism), and reframes such studies from the directionological perspectives of an “Oriental” civilization. Most significantly, the author offers a fundamental reimagining of the standard concept of the other, with critical implications not only for anthropology, but for philosophy, literature, history, and other interrelated disciplines as well.