Political Frontiers, Ethnic Boundaries and Human Geographies in Chinese History

Overview

Boundaries - whether demarcating physical space, enclosing political entities, distinguishing social groups, and defining ethnic categories - constitute an essential facet of historical investigation. Obscured by the influence upon scholars of a myth of unitarian historical and cultural development, not until recently have questions pertaining to boundaries come to represent a fertile ground in the analysis of Chinese history and society, emerging just as compellingly and insistently for China as they have for ...
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Overview

Boundaries - whether demarcating physical space, enclosing political entities, distinguishing social groups, and defining ethnic categories - constitute an essential facet of historical investigation. Obscured by the influence upon scholars of a myth of unitarian historical and cultural development, not until recently have questions pertaining to boundaries come to represent a fertile ground in the analysis of Chinese history and society, emerging just as compellingly and insistently for China as they have for many ostensibly more diverse cultural zones.
Discoveries in the form of new artifacts and fresh analyses that incorporate either unknown or neglected textual data now provide scholars with the kinds of evidence that call for a more nuanced approach to the supposed unity of China's history and culture. Drawing from a broad sampling of newly-found materials as well as from the fund of more conventional sources, the essays focus on boundaries from a variety of different perspectives, contributing thus to the establishment and acceptance of boundaries as a profoundly relevant category of inquiry across the whole spectrum of Chinese history.
It is especially with regard to its disciplinary pluralism and historical breadth that thus book most clearly departs and distinguishes itself from the other works on Chinese boundaries and ethnicities that have recently became available. While history - social, institutional, intellectual, etc. - and geography comprise the primary integration of disciplines throughout the book, within each essay a multiplicity of disciplines is typically represented. Among the disciplines and sub- disciplines represented in the essays in this book are anthropology (and, particularly ethnology), religion, art history, and literary studies. Each of the authors focuses on a distinct period, beginning with the early decades of the Zhou dynasty (c. 110 B.C.E.) and ending with the early centuries after the Manchu conquest (c. C.E. 1800) - resulting in a chronological sweep of nearly three millennia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700714643
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/19/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
Acknowledgments
Table of dynasties
Introduction 1
1 Toward a social geography of the Zhouyuan during the Western Zhou dynasty: the Jing and Zhong lineages of Fufeng county 16
2 Mapping a "spiritual" landscape: representation of terrestrial space in the Shanhaijing 35
3 Ethnicity and identity: northern nomads as Buddhist art patrons during the period of Northern and Southern dynasties 80
4 Deep eyes and high noses: physiognomy and the depiction of barbarians in Tang China 119
5 Raiding and frontier society in the Five Dynasties 160
6 "Felt yurts neatly arrayed, large tents huddle close": visualizing the frontier in the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) 192
7 The invention of the Northern Song 220
8 The Mu'ege kingdom: a brief history of a frontier empire in southwest China 245
9 Traveler's vocation: Xu Xiake and his excursion to the southwestern frontier 286
10 Changing spaces of empire in eighteenth-century Qing China 324
11 Kirghiz nomads on the Qing frontier: tribute, trade, or gift exchange? 351
12 Envisioning new borders for the old China in late Qing fiction and local drama 373
Index 398
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