Chinese Migrations: The Movement of People, Goods, and Ideas over Four Millennia

Overview

The current waves of migration sweeping the Chinese world may seem like new phenomena, the outcome of modernization and industrialization. However, this concise and readable book convincingly shows that contemporary movements are just the most recent stage in a long history of migration, both within China and beyond its borders. Distinguished historian Diana Lary traces the continuous expansion and contraction of the Chinese state over more than four millennia. Periods of expansion, which involved huge movements ...

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Chinese Migrations: The Movement of People, Goods, and Ideas over Four Millennia

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Overview

The current waves of migration sweeping the Chinese world may seem like new phenomena, the outcome of modernization and industrialization. However, this concise and readable book convincingly shows that contemporary movements are just the most recent stage in a long history of migration, both within China and beyond its borders. Distinguished historian Diana Lary traces the continuous expansion and contraction of the Chinese state over more than four millennia. Periods of expansion, which involved huge movements of people, have been interspersed with periods of inward-turning stasis. Following a chronological framework, the author discusses the migrations themselves and the recurrent themes within them. We see migration as a broad spectrum of movement, from short-term and short-range to permanent and long-range, and as a powerful vehicle for the transfer of commodities, culture, religion, and political influence.

The Confucian tradition treated migration as undesirable. It praised the delights of staying at home: “A thousand days at home are good, half a day away is hard.” Lary argues that, despite this view, migration has been a key element in the evolution of Chinese society, one that the state disparages and encourages at the same time. Her book will be compelling for all readers who want to understand the context for the present internal and international migrations that have changed the face of China itself and its international relations.

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Editorial Reviews

Arthur Waldron
This is a brilliant, enchanting, and innovative book. Most important is the way that Diana Lary uses migration as a thread to review the history of China. The method turns out to be fitting and appropriate, and the result is uniquely illuminating.
Elizabeth Sinn
By offering a panoramic view of migration through four millennia, this extraordinary book remaps the history of China and redefines the scope and meaning of 'Chinese migration.' Truly ground-breaking.
Bernard Luk
Diana Lary has situated the epics of twentieth-century Chinese migrations on the broad canvas, and with the deepened perspective, of over four millennia of the Chinese past. Drawing on economic, social, cultural, legal, and gendered history, she shows how Chinese migrations may relate to universal themes, even as Chinese experiences often have differed from patterns elsewhere. This is a stupendous work that should provoke fertile comparative research in diverse disciplines, no less than it will inform fresh thinking within its own field of Chinese history
CHOICE
Lary (emer., Univ. of British Columbia, Canada) has written a very informative introduction to Chinese migrations over the course of four millennia through her skillfully woven account of the movement of people, goods, and ideas. Chronologically, the book includes prehistory to unification, imperial times, the Republic, and the PRC, with an emphasis on 20th-century Chinese migrations from a global perspective. Each chapter starts with a brief review of that period's history and follows with discussion of migrations, themes, and peoples, places, and things. Drawing on the most current scholarship on migration studies, maritime history, and gender history, Lary has situated Chinese migrations in a larger picture from cross-disciplinary perspectives. This book also points out diverse potential research projects and will inspire more scholars and students in their own fields related to Chinese migrations. Summing Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate collections.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Diana Lary is professor emerita of history at the University of British Columbia.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1: Prehistory to Unification
Chapter 2: The Qin/Han Era
Chapter 3: The Tang Dynasty
Chapter 4: The Song Dynasty
Chapter 5: The Yuan Dynasty
Chapter 6: The Ming Dynasty
Chapter 7: The High Qing Dynasty
Chapter 8: The Late Qing Dynasty
Chapter 9: The First Decades of the Republic
Chapter 10: The War Years
Chapter 11: The Early PRC
Chapter 12: The Cultural Revolution
Chapter 13: The PRC Reform Era
Chapter 14: Global China
Chapter 15: Special Categories of Migrant
Chapter 16: Conclusion
Glossary

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