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The Taiping rebellion and Western Religion in China

For discussion:

This seminar looks at the official structures within which China engaged with the outside world. Foreign relations and the official views on merchants and trade form the focal point for the discussion. The main question to discuss is this: how important is this official perspective for understanding China's role in global history? (Compare this political perspective with the more economic/material perspectives we have looked at earlier.)

Who were the key traders and ambassadors whose records we have available for research? Please focus on one, and present the role this individual played in China relationship with the wider world.

what was the 'tribute system' and how important is it for regulating China's foreign affairs?

For the Chinese perspective of changing foreign relations during the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, see the studies in Cambridge History of China, volume 11: 'Late Ch'ing: 1800-1911', Part 2. See especially the chapters entitled 'Late Ch'ing Foreign Relations: 1866-1905' and 'Changing Chinese Views of Western Relations, 1840-1895'.


Primary Readings:

Anderson, Aeneas, A narrative of the British embassy to China [electronic resource], in the years 1792, 1793, and 1794; containing the various circumstances of the embassy, with accounts of customs and manners of the Chinese ... (London: Debrett, 1795) (Available on ECCO)

Barrow, Sir John, Travels in China: Containing descriptions, observations, and comparisons, made and collected in the course of a short residence at the imperial palace of Yuen-min-yuen, and on a subsequent journey through the country, from Pekin to Canton: : in which it is attempted to appreciate the rank that this extraordinary empire may be considered to hold in the scale of civilized nations. (Philadelphia: : Printed and sold by W.F. M'Laughlin, 1805) e-version available: follow link from Warwick library web catalogue.

Lord Elgin, records in China: Trade, Politics & Culture 1793-1980

Macartney, George, (ed. J.L. Cranmer-Byng) An embassy to China : being the journal kept by Lord Macartney during his embassy to the Emperor Ch’ien-lung, 1793-1794 (London: Folio Society, 2004) University of Warwick library DS 708.M2 (The illustrations reproduced in this edition, which were made by the embassy’s official artist, are particularly interesting.) (Joel)

Staunton, Sir George, An authentic account of an embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China (Available on ECCO)

Other records to consider include the journal kept by Henry Ellis (1818)

Secondary materials:

Bickers, Robert A., ed., Ritual & diplomacy: The Macartney mission to China, 1792-1794: Papers presented at the 1992 conference of the British Association for Chinese Studies marking the bicentenary of the Macartney mission to China (London : The British Association for Chinese Studies, in association with Wellsweep, 1993) University of Warwick library DS 740.5.G

Bickers, Robert. 'Purloined letters: History and the Chinese Maritime Customs Service'. Modern Asian Studies 40 (2006): 691-723

Hevia, James Louis, Cherishing men from afar: Qing guest ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995) University of Warwick library HC 9200.H3

Wills, John E., Embassies and Illusions: Dutch and Portuguese Envoys to Kʻang-hsi, 1666-1687 (Harvard University Press, 1984).