Rethinking the Decline of China's Qing Dynasty
Imperial Activism and Borderland Management at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century
The many instances of regional insurgency and unrest that erupted on China’s borderlands at the turn of the nineteenth century are often regarded by scholars as evidence of government disability and the incipient decline of the imperial Qing dynasty. This book, based on extensive original research, argues that, on the contrary, the response of the imperial government went well beyond pacification and reconstruction, and demonstrates that the imperial political culture was dynamic, innovative and capable of confronting contemporary challenges. The author highlights in particular the Jiaqing Reforms of 1799, which enabled national reformist ideology, activist-oriented administrative education, the development of specialised frontier officials, comprehensive borderland rehabilitation, and the sharing of borderland administration best practice between different regions. Overall, the book shows that the Qing regime had sustained vigour, albeit in difficult and changing circumstances.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Transitions in Education and Ideology 1. The Yuelu Academy and Hunan’s Nineteenth Century Turn Statecraft Toward Statecraft 2. Dynastic Decline, Heshen, and the Ideology of the Jiaqing Reforms Part 2: Management of the Hunan Miao Frontier 3. Identity and Conflict on a Chinese Borderland: Yan Ruyi and the Recruitment of the Gelao During the 1795-7 Miao Revolt 4. New Order on China’s Hunan Miao Frontier, 1796-1812 Part 3: Management of the Southern Shaanxi Highlands 5. Qing Reconstruction in the Southern Shaanxi Highlands: State Perceptions and Plans, 1799-1820 6. Southern Shaanxi Border Officials in Early Nineteenth Century China Part 4: Management of the Guangdong Coast 7. Qing Highland Precedent, Yan Ruyi, and the Defense of the Guangdong Coast, 1804-5
Daniel McMahon is a Professor in the Department of History, at Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan
"This book brings a new and significant perspective to the study of China's Qing dynasty, and such a thought-provoking volume will be invaluable to both scholars and students of Chinese borderlands and Qing political history."
Hang Lin, Asian Affairs