Chapter 1 situates the unmaking of radicalism in Chinese political, historical, and cultural discourse after 1989 within the context of the end of the Cold War, Tiananmen, and renewed economic reform in China. Mainland Chinese intellectuals, influenced by interactions with scholars in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and the United States, questioned the necessity of violent revolution and the notion of radical change that had characterized Chinese socialist modernity and the May Fourth Movement. Radicalism in this context was, in the words of the conceptual historian Reinhart Koselleck, a “counter-concept,” whereas conservatism, long denounced in China as signifying opposition to progress, obtained positive meaning. “Realistic revolution” refers to the emphasis on pragmatism and commonsense approaches to change after the utopianism of the Mao era, but also to the challenges to official narratives that criticisms of radicalism posed. Finally, it also refers to the juxtaposition of the “French” and “English” revolutionary “models,” with the Glorious Revolution now being designated as the only “realistic” revolution. The introduction further outlines the three dimensions of “realistic revolution”: that of the projection of gradual change into the future; that of the crisis of the Chinese intellectual; and that of the quest for an objective scholarship.