Historians are being increasingly attracted by the methodology of historical anthropology, an approach which combines observations in the field with documentary analysis, both of official documents and of documents collected from local society. In China, historians have been pursuing such local historical research for a generation, with very little of this work being available in English hitherto. This series makes available in English research undertaken by the Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society project based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and related work. The books argue that top-heavy, dynasty-centred history is incomplete without an understanding of how local communities were involved in the government process and in the creation of their own historical narratives. The books argue that Chinese social history needs to be rewritten from the bottom up.
By Michael Szonyi, Shiyu Zhao
August 01, 2022
This book explores the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) military, its impact on local society, and its many legacies for Chinese society. It is based on extensive original research by scholars using the methodology of historical anthropology, an approach that has transformed the study of Chinese history by...
By Jianxiong Ma, Oded Abt, Jide Yao
April 28, 2020
This book explores the long history in China of Chinese Muslims, known as the Hui people, and regarded as a minority, though in fact they are distinguished by religion rather than ethnicity. It shows how over time Chinese Muslims adopted Chinese practices as these evolved in wider Chinese society, ...
By Xi He
February 13, 2020
Tracing descent from common ancestors was extremely important in imperial China. Members of such lineage communities sacrificed to ancestors in periodic ceremonies, maintained written genealogies to demonstrate their descent, and held some properties in common. This book, based on extensive ...
By Sui-Wai Cheung
December 12, 2019
This book argues that as colonialism brought the concept of individual, as opposed to collective, land ownership to indigenous society, along with Western surveying techniques, the changes that resulted altered the relationship of the state to its citizens, and, thereby, the structure of local ...
By Christian Daniels, Jianxiong Ma
November 27, 2019
This book examines how the Ming state transformed the multi-ethnic society of Yunnan into a province. Yunnan had remained outside the ambit of central government when ruled by the Dali kingdom, 937-1253, and its foundation as a province by the Yuan regime in 1276 did not disrupt Dali kingdom style ...
By Thomas David DuBois, Jan Kiely
November 20, 2019
This book explores how fieldwork has been used to research Chinese history in the past and new ways that others might use in it the future. It introduces the previous generations of scholars who ventured out of the archive to conduct local investigations in Chinese cities, villages, farms and ...
By Xi He, David Faure
January 12, 2018
Although most studies of rural society in China deal with land villages, in fact very substantial numbers of Chinese people lived by the sea, on the rivers and the lakes. In land villages, mostly given to farming, people lived in permanent houses, whereas on the margins of the waterways many people...