The Chinese History Podcast
Professor Maura Dykstra on Her New Book ”Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine: The Administrative Revolution of the Eighteenth-Century Qing State” (Governing China, Part 2)

Professor Maura Dykstra on Her New Book ”Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine: The Administrative Revolution of the Eighteenth-Century Qing State” (Governing China, Part 2)

September 20, 2022

Professor Maura Dykstra of Caltech joins us today to talk about her new book titled Uncertainty in the Empire of Routine: The Administrative Revolution of the Eighteenth-Century Qing State. According to the publisher, the book "investigates the administrative revolution of China’s eighteenth-century Qing state. It begins in the mid-seventeenth century with what seemed, at the time, to be straightforward policies to clean up the bureaucracy: a regulation about deadlines here, a requirement about reporting standards there. Over the course of a hundred years, the central court continued to demand more information from the provinces about local administrative activities. By the middle of the eighteenth century, unprecedented amounts of data about local offices throughout the empire existed.

The result of this information coup was a growing discourse of crisis and decline. Gathering data to ensure that officials were doing their jobs properly, it turned out, repeatedly exposed new issues requiring new forms of scrutiny. Slowly but surely, the thicket of imperial routines and standards binding together local offices, provincial superiors, and central ministries shifted the very epistemological foundations of the state. A vicious cycle arose whereby reporting protocols implemented to solve problems uncovered more problems, necessitating the collection of more information. At the very moment that the Qing knew more about itself than ever before, the central court became certain that it had entered an age of decline."

Contributors

Maura Dykstra

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Professor Maura Dykstra is an Assistant Professor of History at Caltech. As a historian of Late Imperial China, her research interests are on bureaucratic, economic, and legal institutions of empire and their implications for political and social interactions in quotidian contexts. Professor Dykstra received her PhD from UCLA and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. In addition, she has held numerous residential fellowships and visiting positions in Europe and Asia. Starting in Fall of 2023, Professor Dykstra will begin a new position as Assistant Professor of Chinese History at Yale University.

Yiming Ha

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Yiming Ha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research is on military mobilization and state-building in China between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on how military institutions changed over time, how the state responded to these changes, the disconnect between the center and localities, and the broader implications that the military had on the state. His project highlights in particular the role of the Mongol Yuan in introducing an alternative form of military mobilization that radically transformed the Chinese state. He is also interested in military history, nomadic history, comparative Eurasian state-building, and the history of maritime interactions in early modern East Asia. He received his BA from UCLA and his MPhil from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Credits

Episode No. 15

Release date: September 20, 2022

Recording location: Los Angeles, CA

Transcript

Bibliography courtesy of Professor Dykstra

Images

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Cover Image: Cover of Professor Dykstra's book, which can be purchased directly from the publisher or from Amazon.

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A 1771 prisoner's register from Ba County. Fig. 6 in the book with the following description: "Draft of a 1771 prisoner register produced by the Ba County magistrate." It is document 清 006-01-03710 in the Sichuan Provincial Archives' Ba County collection. Photo provided by Professor Dykstra.
 
References
Bartlett, Beatrice S. Monarchs and Ministers: The Grand Council in Mid-Ch’ing China,1723–1820. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
 
Fitzgerald, Devin T. "The Ming Open Archive and the Global Reading of Early Modern China." Ph. D. diss. Harvard University, 2020.
 
Hucker, Charles O. The Censorial System of Ming China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1966.
 
Kuhn, Philip A. Origins of the Modern Chinese State. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.
 
Mokros, Emily.  The Peking gazette in late imperial China: state news and political authority in late imperial China. University of Washington Press, 2020.
 
Wu, Silas H. L. Communication and Imperial Control in China: The Evolution of the Palace Memorial System 1693–1735. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970.
 
———. “Transmission of Ming Memorials and the Evolution of the Transmission Network, 1368-1627.” T’oung Pao 54, no. 4–5 (January 1968): 275–87.
 
Will, Pierre-Étienne. Official Handbooks and Anthologies for Officials in Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography. Brill, 2020.
 
Zhang, Ting. Circulating the Code: print media and legal knowledge in Qing China. University of Washington Press, 2020.
Professor Joanna Waley-Cohen on New Qing History

Professor Joanna Waley-Cohen on New Qing History

June 25, 2022

Since the 1990s, the New Qing History school has loomed large in the study of the Qing dynasty. It has greatly informed not only the study of the Qing but study of other dynasties as well. Yet what exactly is New Qing History? What is "new" about it? How did it come into being? How was it received in China and the West? To answer these questions, we talked to Professor Joanna Waley-Cohen of NYU, one of the leading scholars of the Qing dynasty.

Contributors

Joanna Waley-Cohen

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Professor Joanna Waley-Cohen is the Provost for NYU Shanghai and Julius Silver Professor of History at New York University. Her research interests include early modern Chinese history, especially the Qing dynasty; China and the West; and Chinese imperial culture, particularly in the Qianlong era; warfare in China and Inner Asia; and Chinese culinary history, and she has authored several books and articles on these topics. In addition, Professor Waley-Cohen has received many honors, including archival and postdoctoral fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Goddard and Presidential Fellowships from NYU, and an Olin Fellowship in Military and Strategic History from Yale. 

Yiming Ha

Yiming_2bdedh.jpeg

Yiming Ha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research is on military mobilization and state-building in China between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on how military institutions changed over time, how the state responded to these changes, the disconnect between the center and localities, and the broader implications that the military had on the state. His project highlights in particular the role of the Mongol Yuan in introducing an alternative form of military mobilization that radically transformed the Chinese state. He is also interested in military history, nomadic history, comparative Eurasian state-building, and the history of maritime interactions in early modern East Asia. He received his BA from UCLA and his MPhil from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Credits

Episode no. 12

Release date: June 25, 2022

Recording location: Los Angeles, CA/New York, NY

Transcript

Bibliography courtesy of Professor Waley-Cohen

Images

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Cover Image: The Qianlong Emperor, who reigned from 1735 to 1796. After he abdicated, he continued to retain power as retired emperor until his death in 1799. He is the longest-reigning monarch in Chinese history and one of the longest in the world (Image Source).

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The headquarters of the First Historical Archives in Beijing, which houses documents from the Qing. The opening of this archive and access to the Manchu-language documents held within helped give birth to New Qing History. (Image Source)

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A copy of a Qing-era civil service examination answer sheet. Note the Manchu script on the seal. Currently held in UCLA Library Special Collections (Photo by Yiming).

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The Putuo Zongcheng Temple, a Buddhist temple in the Qing's Rehe Summer Resort (in today's Chengde, Hebei province). The temple was built between 1767 and 1771 by the Qianlong Emperor and was a replica of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. It is a fusion of Tibetan and Chinese architectural styles and is one of the most famous landmarks in the Chengde Summer Resort. (Image Source)

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A painting of a European-style palace constructed by the Jesuits for the Qing emperors in the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan). Note the fusion of Chinese and European styles. The Old Summer Palace was looted and burned by Anglo-French forces in 1860. The twelve bronze head statutes in front of the building have mostly been repatriated back to China, although some are in the hands of private collectors. (Image Source)

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The Qianlong Emperor commissioned a series of artwork commemorating the "Ten Great Campaigns" of his reign. This particular piece of artwork depicts the Battle of Thọ Xương River in 1788, when the Qing invaded Vietnam. These artworks were collaborative pieces between Chinese and Jesuit painters. (Image Source)

References

Patricia Berger, Empire of Emptiness: Buddhist Art and Political Authority in Qing China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003.

Pamela K. Crossley, A Translucent Mirror:  History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology.  Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1999.

Mark C. Elliott, The Manchu Way:  The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 2001.

Johan Elverskog, Our Great QingThe Mongols, Buddhists, and the State in Late Imperial China. Honolulu: University of  Hawaii Press, 2006.

Philippe Foret, Mapping Chengde:  The Qing Landscape Enterprise.  Honolulu:  University of Hawaii Press, 2000.

Jonathan S. Hay, Shitao:  Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Ho Ping-ti, “The Significance of the Ch’ing Period in Chinese History,” Journal of Asian Studies 26.2 (1967):  189-95

Ho Ping-ti, “In Defense of Sinicization: A Rebuttal of Evelyn Rawski’s `Reenvisioning the Qing,’” Journal of Asian Studies 57.1 (1998):  123-55.

Laura Hostetler, Qing Colonial Enterprise:  Ethnography and Cartography in Early Modern China.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Susan Mann, Precious Records:  Women in China’s Long Eighteenth Century.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 1997.

James P. Millward, Beyond the Pass:  Economy, Ethnicity, and Empire in Qing Central Asia, 1759-1864.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 1998.

Ronald C. Po, The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Evelyn S. Rawski, The Last Emperors:  A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions.  Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1998.

Evelyn S. Rawski, “Presidential Address: Reenvisioning the Qing: The Significance of the Qing Period in Chinese History,” Journal of Asian Studies 55.4 (1996):  829-50.

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