Outline of Cohen’s main points on Myth

Outline on Cohen explaining the Boxer Uprising as a Myth

Main points from the Prologue and Chapter 8:


  • A myth in history or the mythologized past like in terms of the Boxer Uprising, is not at all historically accurate to what really did happen in that specific event or any other events in history.
  • Cohen argues that while a historian’s objective is construct an accurate and more truthful understanding of the past, the person who makes the myth or mythologizer does start with having an understanding of the past and construct the past as to serve the current emotional, political, ideological, and rhetorical needs of the present. In doing that, if it can “be effective in persuading or mobilizing people in the present” (Cohen 214), then the myth created does have some concept of “truth” to it.
  • Mythologization is autobiographical as it engages everyone in editing their current lives to fit or “congruent with the changes in self-conception” (Cohen 216).
  • When the Communists in China came to power in 1949, Stories about the Boxers were published for children to emphasizes the heroics and resourcefulness of the Boxers. The myth created for stories of the Boxers serve to bring hope in the young reader and to inspire them to defend their country’s ideology.
  • Lao She romanticizes the Boxers as brave heroes, anti-imperialist patriots, and people who help the poor.
  • Two ways that Cohen examines the myth on the Boxers is, the first being the procedures created by the mythologizers with identifying what’s their distinctive perspectives on the past (this being the Boxer Uprising) and how it compares to a historian’s point of view. The second way is, the mythologization of the Boxer Uprising that was made for the Chinese people during the 20th century.

Chapter 8-

  • The meaning of the past that is treated as a myth is “governed to an overwhelming extent by the concerns of the present” (Cohen 238). When those present concerns shift, then the meaning behind the mythologized past shifts as well.
  • The positive mythologization portrayed the Boxers as loyal, righteous, and patriotic citizens.
  • Anti-imperialist Gu Hongming saw that the Boxers, the Empress-Dowager, and Prince Duan were not the enemies of the Europeans, but they are their “real true friends” and that the “real enemies of Europe, of the world and of true civilization” from which the Boxer had risen up against were “the European usurers, called financiers and capitalists” (Cohen 239) who as Gu viewed caused disorder and disarray until they destroy all civilization in the world.
  •  Cai Yuanpei, president of Beijing University issued a “manifesto” while traveling in Europe to counter the misconception that the May Thirteenth movement was a “relay of the Boxer rising of 1900” (Cohen 257) with pointing out differences between the two events.
  • Boxer mythologization centers around the themes of anti-imperialism and nationalism.
  • During the shifts from the Cultural Revolution in China and the post-Mao of the 1980s, the meaning of the Boxer experience and the ways they are remembered go through significant changes as issues at the present time changed.

Themes of interest in History

One of the themes in history that I am interested in are environmental impacts like floods, droughts, volcano erupt, etc; and their effects on a country, society, or civilization. Two example of this is with the Dust Bowl in the United States during the Great Depression (1929-1939) and the drought in North China after the winter of 1898-1899 which became a second factor resulting in the spread of the Boxer movement. There are differences between the two events with one being that the Dust Bowl was caused by the combination of poor land use by farmers and a drought while the drought in China had resulted from there being very little rainfall after the winter of 1898-1899. These two events do share similarities in how the droughts in both added to the already building cultural/economic aspects of that time like some Chinese villagers joining the Boxers so they can be fed or from hunger anxiety while in the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl caused unemployed farmers to migrate to other states like California in order find work.

History 297 blog 1

Hello, my name is Adam Kitchen and I am a History Major. I don’t necessary have a specific type of history chosen at the moment, but I do like American History, Art History and History on Western Civilization. I would like to learn more about other histories around the world. My hobbies do include drawing and reading, although I have not done any drawing or reading for a while, but I do hope I can get to either of the two when I have time. I like science fiction novels like The Howling Stones by Alan Dean Foster and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

This image shown is in relation to History of Western Civilization:


Fig. 1. Dale Harvey, Coliseum. July 7, 2007, Photographic Print, Available from: Flickr Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/daleharvey/754378273/in/photolist-29EonX-k2e7S-rVVPbZ-9dwbL3-7tVEZr-rVNv6A-rU35FV-69MQGL-wgkFs-b3JE1x-q4izu9-6S5X5M-sdjwWK-6QV9CB-9yLEKg-cgM9qW-pJYNsx-VBLYYv-WQrrpd-VGSDwv-pxhGRp-RV8xrg-T4dVkP-YchAoj-ekMxrY-VktgGq-UCTUQ1-R4DLaH-9HkhcC-WR5pAZ-e1AQdA-WzYYpd-iuSQtz-4hfgBX-Vj14i7-VCtPyP-WAnVbd-5apQJZ-WhZjvf-7UwHkH-UvV6GW-VBLZge-WEykCp-YdSPyE-RSxcok-V7hJ1m-VqaNjx-U3GQpm-c8A75u-9rYSY2 (accessed September 8, 2017).

This image shown is one of the book I discussed earlier but I have a different version from this one.

Fahrenheit 451

Fig. 2. DaveBleasdale, Fahrenheit 451. August 9, 2005, Photographic Print, Available from: Flickr Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidelong/32603725/in/photolist-anaEHL-dS1fVL-eTiGQd-3T6Xc-7AsUoJ-5eyoDN-aEZrNv-cm86i9-McWEj4 (accessed September 8, 2017).

This image relates to drawing.

drawing hand

Fig, 3. cdaltonrowe, drawing hand. September 29, 2009, Photographic Print, Available from: Flickr Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/30485180@N06/3967682030/in/photolist-73BpCS-4sHNYK-sma24x-gkPVz-7uts49-4qytmj-f7J4dM-bsi5Nk-r3nhHe-9ag9Ch-4QP15u-fLh7jz-9kzBfJ-fFChsh-eU2QMy-9GG8vA-2GUMUq-cKpDSU-7aM6vy-8VTLA7-6SyxBH-27tHj7-7upzjx-oVdHUC-3muy44-3Lk2M4-fxRp44-fuuYN2-cJ8gCb-fqDLFy-5DP2VR-77nH1S-9354cS-fsLzCF-5G12g2-gU9gUm-4Re5uS-8EnZBi-bdM7fK-dUA4Rr-5xboUC-6uzAKK-fPQCzh-7swCdh-ppzsgM-C7Sy2b-4Dt5Yh-r6tWvo-XBqkic-ecX9jB (accessed September 8, 2017).