Upriver Journeys: Diaspora and Empire in Southern China, 1570-1850

Upriver Journeys: Diaspora and Empire in Southern China, 1570-1850

by Steven B. Miles


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Tracing journeys of Cantonese migrants along the West River and its tributaries, this book describes the circulation of people through one of the world’s great river systems between the late sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Steven B. Miles examines the relationship between diaspora and empire in an upriver frontier, and the role of migration in sustaining families and lineages in the homeland of what would become a global diaspora. Based on archival research and multisite fieldwork, this innovative history of mobility explores a set of diasporic practices ranging from the manipulation of household registration requirements to the maintenance of split families.

Many of the institutions and practices that facilitated overseas migration were not adaptations of tradition to transnational modernity; rather, they emerged in the early modern era within the context of riverine migration. Likewise, the extension and consolidation of empire required not only unidirectional frontier settlement and sedentarization of indigenous populations. It was also responsible for the regular circulation between homeland and frontier of people who drove imperial expansion—even while turning imperial aims toward their own purposes of socioeconomic advancement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674975200
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 02/06/2017
Series: Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series , #106
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Steven B. Miles is Professor of History and of International and Area Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Table ix

Acknowledgments xi

A Note on Conventions xiii

Introduction 1

Part I Imperial Intermediaries

1 Officials: Agents of Empire in the Upriver Frontier, 1570-1740 29

2 Students: Migration and Civil Examinations, 1570-1760 69

3 Merchants: Commercial Networks and State Support, 1700-1850 108

Part II Diasporic Families

4 Husbands and Wives in the West River Basin 159

5 Upriver Settlers and Delta Lineages 200

Conclusion 237

Glossary 245

Notes 255

Bibliography 297

Index 327

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