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Overlapping histories, co-produced concepts: imperialism in Chinese eyes

Jenco, Leigh K. and Chappell, Jonathan (2020) Overlapping histories, co-produced concepts: imperialism in Chinese eyes. Journal of Asian Studies. ISSN 0021-9118 (In Press)

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Many historians of China, particularly those based in North America, insist that the Qing dynasty’s territorial expansion was imperial, and comparable to the imperial expansion of other global empires. Other historians, particularly but not only those based in the PRC, continue to resist this interpretation. They argue that dynastic expansion in the Ming and Qing periods was simply a form of nation-state building, akin to similar processes in Europe. Rather than rejecting their claims as a product of Chinese nationalism, we argue that the term “empire” should be (re-)understood as a global co-production, emerging from multiple intersecting histories and scholarly debates about those histories. Doing so challenges influential definitions of empire which rely on a distinction between empires and nation-states, highlighting their dual presence in both Euro-American and Chinese pasts (and presents). This move demands a rejection of periodizations which suggest that empires ceased to exist following the period of decolonization from 1945-1970s. This opens up new avenues of historical and normative enquiry to acknowledge the modern continuity between empires and nation-states.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Association for Asian Studies, Inc.
Divisions: Government
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2020 14:00
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 23:26

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