05 by keralaguest


									          Conference on the Qing Formation in World and Chinese Time
                        Indiana University, Bloomington
                                June 10-13, 1999

    In the past two decades, aided by the seminal scholarship of William H. McNeill
and the founding of the World History Association, not only has interest grown in
world history, also, a new dedication is evident to “De-Eurocentrize” or
“humanocentrize” world history, that is, to no longer see world-historical changes as
various extensions of European history, but to conceive and articulate such changes in
ways which give all peoples and all parts of the earth their appropriate, unprivileged
place. This has raised a call on specialists in the study of non-European parts of the
world, especially areas of ancient and advanced civilizations such as China, to
formulate their scholarship and employ vocabularies that are more accessible to
non-specialists who are interested in worldwide trends and comparative studies.
Scholars in Chinese studies, partly in response to this call, and desiring to participate
more in world-historical and comparative discourses, have been searching for less
parochial, more generally-shared historical terms to use in characterizing Chinese
   Among the most important of such terms have been those used for periodization,
since period-terms so heavily condition our thinking about all that occurs during a
certain span of time. If we are to abandon use of parochial dynastic terms, such as
Ming or Qing, in order to more easily communicate with scholars outside Chinese
studies, then what other terms are we to use? Many have adopted “late imperial” for
Ming-Qing (or unspecified portions thereof), but others feel that this phrase overly
emphasizes the end or exhaustion of something in an era that was full of new
developments. Moreover, the word imperial stands for a particular set of meanings
among China specialists which is not shared by historians in other fields.
    Are we to adopt the usages of European historical discourse? “Early modern” is
an increasingly popular term for the Ming-Qing era, but many object that it is
inherently teleological and leads us to imagine too much modernity in premodern
times and too many parallels between China and the West. Others advocate defining a
universal, non-Eurocentric early-modernity which would include China, but such
efforts to date have had to ignore important aspects of trends that led to modernity in
Europe, especially in civic activity and the history of thought. Still others feel that any
period-terms inevitably call disproportionate attention to certain kinds of phenomena;
thus, we should use them only for the presentation of certain themes, and stick to
using just numerical dates for more general discussions, eschewing broad period- or
   In any case, these trends and debates have led many specialists in Chinese studies
to reassess the general significance of broad spans of time in Chinese history and to
envision the dynamics of that history in ways that make sense in world-historical
terms. For instance, a conference held in California in 1997 examined the period from
Sung through Yuan and early Ming as a distinctly significant phase in Chinese history.
The purpose of the Conference on the Qing Formation in World and Chinese Time
was to call attention, even more explicitly, to the crucial nature of the changes that
occurred in China during the seventeenth century for our general assessments and
characterizations of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries in both Chinese and
Eurasian history. The word “formation” was chosen to avoid the leading connotations
of such words as “rise”and the political focus of “dynasty,”and to welcome
consideration of all sorts of patterns that became discernible by the early part of the
eighteenth century. An emphasis was placed on changes that came about under
early-Qing rule in the latter part of the seventeenth century, because it was felt that
scholarship to date has focussed very heavily on either late Ming or middle
(Migh-Qing, somewhat neglecting the important temporal span between those two
   The planners also felt that, while engaging ourselves in abstract discussions of how
we, today, should understand China‟s past using academic, world-historical concepts,
we also are obliged to ask people of that day in China about how they saw their world
in their time. This is not just a matter of imaginary human courtesy or historical
curiosity. Rather, it serves to concretize our abstractions, and it raises the challenge of
actually reconciling or linking the temporal sensibilities of people who lived in the
times we are discussing with the larger temporal concepts that we seek to employ as
professional historians in the twentieth century. In other words, if we seek to
characterize an age, should not our characterization take account of the temporal
outlook of that age? Most of the conference participants addressed either
world-historical issues or ways in which the passage of time was seen by people in
various sectors of early-Qing society and culture. A few of the papers, however,
attempted the sort of linkage just described.
    Since almost all of the papers were distributed to be read by the participants in
advance, our conference time was used mostly for thorough discussion of each paper.
Contributing greatly to the quality of oral remarks were the two designated
discussants, Richard von Glahn (History Dept., UCLA), a scholar of wide interests
and insights in Chinese history, especially Song through Qing, and Jack Goldstone
(Dept. of Sociology and International Relations, Univ. of California at Davis), an
accomplished scholar of world and comparative history who long has held a special
interest in China. Also attending as observers were Joanna Waley-Cohen (History
Dept., New York Univ.), who made valuable comments from her standpoint as a
scholar primarily of eighteenth-century Chinese political culture, and Christopher
Atwood (Dept. of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana Univ. at Bloomington), a
specialist in modern Mongolia, who especially contributed to discussions of Inner
   The first day was devoted to papers which presented ideas or raised issues about
early-Qing China in world-historical or comparative perspective. Several papers
addressed the Inner Asian dimension of the Qing state, which has attracted
much-deserved attention in recent years (after decades of “maritime bias” in studies of
China‟s peripheries), and which brings to the forefront the millennia-long significance
of Central Asia in the general dynamics of Eurasian history (indeed, of prehistory as
   The papers by Peter C. Perdue (History Faculty, MIT), titled “The Qing Empire in
Eurasian Space and Time,” and by James Millward (History Dept., Georgetown
Univ.), “Contextualizing the Qing: The Return of the Torghuts and the end of History
in Central Eurasia,” both dealt with the epochal “losing of the steppe,” which
occurred across Central Eurasia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This was
due largely to the territorial expansions, cartographically precise boundary-settings,
and policies to settle and control ethnic minorities on the parts of the
contemporaneous continental empires, especially the Russian and the Chinese. (See a
thematic issue of The International History Review, 20.2 [June 1998], which includes
articles by Perdue, Millward, Di Cosmo, and Waley-Cohen); as well as Perdue‟s
article, “Military Mobilization in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century China, Russia,
and Mongolia,” Modern Asian Studies, 30.4 [1996]).
    Perdue emphasized the Qing success in fixing, to their own advantage, both the
space and the time of Mongolia and of what came to be called Xinjiang pace, through
military campaigns and cooptations, and time, through the compilation of military
campaign histories (fanglue 方 略 ). He sought to link microhistorical and
macrohistorical perspectives across a temporal spectrum of perceived significances by
focusing on the death of the Zunghar leader Galdan in 1697, examining the probable
reality of that event, the meaning that the Kangxi emperor chose to assign it (which
became the meaning conveyed in the subsequently-compiled Qinzheng pingding
shuomo fanglue 親征平定朔漠方略), the meaning imparted to it in later Qing
ideology, and the meanings that we might see in it today, informed by earlier views as
we come to hold our own.
  Millward‟s paper focused on a complementary matter: the flight of the Torghut
Mongols, harried by the Zunghars, from the Yili region to the Volga in the seventeenth
century; their return to what had become Qing sovereignty over the Yili 伊犁 region
in 1771, having suffered under Muscovite policies; and especially the
self-congratulatory meaning that the Qianlong emperor chose to find that that return.
Millward placed those events in worldscale temporal and spacial frameworks by
suggesting that the Qing be seen as one of several “?e-imperializing polities” of
Mongol heritage that took form across Eurasia in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries
after disintegration of the Mongol empire polities which continued many Mongol
institutions, which allied with Sufi or Tibetan religious orders, and which attempted to
meld steppe and sown with nomadic rituals, military-administrative organizations and
techniques, promotion of agriculture, and city-building. The ironic result, epitomized
in the plight of the Torghuts, was to end the history of Central Eurasia as a region of
fluid movement and association or dissociation among migratory peoples.
    At this point, Lynn Struve (History Dept., Indiana Univ. at Bloomington), gave a
brief report on the recent work of Nicola Di Cosmo (History Dept., Univ. of
Canterbury, New Zealand), who had hoped to contribute a paper to the conference but
was unable to do so. She first distributed copies of and summarized a recent article by
Di Cosmo, “State Formation and Periodization in Inner Asian History,” Journal of
World History, 10.1 (1999), in which he sets forth dominant factors in the recurrent
generation of “steppe” empires by pastoral-nomadic and hunting peoples of Central
Asia and the steppe peripheries, factors which all relate back to some type of crisis
which threatened the existence of a certain tribe. In that article, he also proposes a
periodization based on phases of increased sophistication in accessing revenues from
sources external to the steppe. The last phase in that periodization, the “direct-taxation
empires,” includes the Yuan and the Qing, the latter of which represents the
culmination of skill and complexity in adding new institutions to ones inherited from
steppe-imperial “traditionary” sources in order to maximize gains from areas outside
the ethnic homeland.
   This last point relates directly to Di Cosmo‟s most recent research on the early
history of Manchu-Mongol relations, particularly the development of the Lifanyuan
理藩院 and extention of its functions to include all the affairs of the Qing Inner Asian
dominions. This institutional innovation largely accounts for the remarkable success
of the Manchu-Qing state in maintaining rule from Beijing over unprecedentedly vast
regions of Central Eurasia in a manner not inferior to that of other great colonial
empires of the day, while also managing China Proper through the conscientious
application of statecraft in the Han-Chinese tradition.
   The paper by Evelyn Rawski (History Dept., Univ. of Pittsburgh), “The Qing
Formation and the Early Modern Period,” also dealt extensively with the Inner Asian
dimension of the early Qing state, but in the course of a wide-ranging substantiation
of the ways in which that state participated in the trends emphasized in several recent
articles, articles which attempt to de-Eurocentrize the concept of early modernity but
which neglect China (Victor Lieberman, transcending East-West Dichotomies: State
and Culture Formation in Six Ostensibly Disparate Areas,” Modern Asian Studies
31.3 [1997]: 463-46?; Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Connected Histories: Towards a
Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia,” in the same thematic journal issue, pp.
735?2; and Eisenstadt and Schluchter, “Introduction: Paths to Early Modernities‟s
Comparative View,” Daedalus 127.3 [1998]: 1.8). In sections on economic growth,
increased state revenues, territorial consolidation, administrative centralization, and
cultural convergence (here proceeding more tentatively, with a question mark),
Rawski argued not only that China (with India) was at the center of a truly global
world economy in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries (citing, for instance, the theses
of Andre Gunder Frank‟s ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age [1998]), but
also that “the early Manchu state exhibited the same historical trends...found in other
developing states during the early modern period.”
   While Rawski‟s paper aimed principally to place China within the discourse on
pan-Eurasian early-modern statebuilding, that by On-cho Ng (Dept. of History,
Pennsylvania State Univ.) addressed the lack of attention to intellectual matters in that
discourse. By way of response, in his paper, “‟Early Modernity‟ as an Epochal
Concept in Chinese Intellectual History,” Ng sought to examine the applicability of
the “Eurocentric period concept” of early modernity to seventeenth- and
eighteenth-century Chinese intellectual developments by using three “common
denominators,” that is, basic Problematiks, that engendered crises of authority in both
European and Chinese thought during that period: the nature of knowledge; the sense
of the past, and the ultimate grounds of ethico-moral values. In each of these areas Ng
found, upon careful comparison, that Chinese thought did not sufficiently exhibit key
aspects of the European Problematiks to be considered early-modern. China did not,
for instance, develop radical skepticism, nor any breakaway of the “moderns” from
the “ancients,” nor any attempt to fundamentally separate morality from spiritual
beliefs. Ng concluded, however, that the early Qing 烔 shered in a Chinese early
modernity, even though it reveals a trajectory quite different from the European one.?
   Jonathan Hay (Inst. for Fine Arts, New York Univ.) adopted a somewhat different
approach to applying the early-modern concept, in a field closely related to
intellectual history --art history. In his paper, “Art and Macrohistorical Narrative,”
Hay concurred that “the Qing dynasty, in the entirety of its post-conquest history, can
usefully be integrated into a larger, global history of modernity.” But he was less
sanguine than Rawski about “privileging a single macrohistorical characterization for
any historical period,” regarding “early modern” as simply an analytic concept, as a
“representation” or representational frame. He was less willing than Rawski to
abandon other period-concepts, particularly the “late-imperial” and that of dynastic
rise and fall and called, rather, for an exploration of “the interplay of representations”
in addressing such large and complex subjects as the totality of China in the sixteenth
to eighteenth centuries. He argued in favor of, metaphorically, using multiple “senses”
to “create a kaleidoscopic, multi-dimensional representation of the Qing past: one that
would be neither unified nor, overall, progress-oriented.” He illustrated this approach
by showing the validity of viewing several matters in early-Qing art history through
both dynastic and early-modern lenses, focussing specifically on the Qing palace
system, imperial ceramics, remnant-subject (yimin 遺 民 ) painting, and the
socio-political status of the artist.
   The world-comparative approach of John E. Wills (History Dept., Univ. of
Southern California), in his paper, “Contingent Connections: Fujian, the Empire, and
the Early Modern World,” took as its conceptual starting point an interest in the
categorization “gunpowder empires” for several expansive, continental state systems
of Eurasia which were contemporaneous with the late and early Qing era, and in what
is revealed about China in considering whether the Qing state, also, belongs in that
category. Of particular concern to Wills is the neglect in scholarship of
provincial-level governance and politics, of the intermediary position of provincial
structures (which correspond closely with geographical macroregions) between
growing, changing populations and economies and the imperial center. Wills focussed
particularly on Fujian because of its articulating role not only between local and
central, but also between maritime-foreign influences and a court for which maritime
China...remained a world of which they knew little and liked less,” tracing the
vagaries of mutual understanding and communication between Fujian provincial
authorities and the capital from the beginning of the seventeenth century to the end.
    The paper by Eugenio Menegon (ABD, Univ. of California at Berkeley),
“‟Teachings of the Lord of Heaven‟ in Fujian: Between Two Worlds and Two Times,”
dealt with the same province but with different kinds of mediation: between
Dominican missionaries and their converts, and between those Christians and
non-Christians. Since most scholarship on European missionary activity in
seventeenth-century China has emphasized the Jesuits and their learned associates in
major urban centers, Menegon‟s focus on the Dominicans and on their mostly
commoner converts in a less-than-flourishing part of Fujian, Fuan 福安 County in
Funing 福寧 Prefecture (an area that has stubbornly maintained Christian worship
from late Ming times to the present, in spite of continual bans and recurrent
persecutions) is especially welcome. In keeping with the theme of the conference,
Menegon examined in detail how the Western “organization of religious time,”
embodied in the Christian liturgical calendar of saints” days and sacraments, was
adapted by Chinese converts to the indigenous, lunar-year cycle of communal and
domestic rituals, with which it often conflicted. In so doing, he revealed much of
significance not only about the socio-political position of Christianity but also about
ordinary people‟s everyday concerns, and hopes for religious ameliorations, in
early-Qing times. Though they may not have realized it, the Christian converts in
seventeenth-century Fuan were on the cutting edge of cultural negotiation over an
evolving world time-frame.
   Discussion of papers during the first day of the conference was destined to be
especially energetic, given that so many of the papers explicitly or implicitly, directly
or indirectly favored the early-modern paradigm for early Qing, whereas the
designated discussants did not. Von Glahn cast doubt on early modernity by briefly
tracing its origins and odd evolution in the history of ideas and found it unfortunate
that such an unstable, fundamentally orientalist concept is becoming “naturalized” in
East Asian historical scholarship. Even more relentless in criticism of the idea was
Goldstone, who, having published several well-known works in acceptance of
early-modernity, now regards it as misleading and inadequate not only for the
historical characterization of non-Western parts of the world between the fifteenth and
nineteenth centuries, but for Euro-America as well. Viewpoints that he set forth in a
recent article, “The Problem of the „Early Modern‟ World” (Journal of the Economic
and Social History of the Orient 41.3 [1998]: 249?4]), were marshalled effectively,
leading conference participants to think more carefully about employing notions of
early-modernity in their analyses.
   Other issues were raised, as well, regarding the apparent desire of several conferees
to see China as exhibiting basically the same patterns as the leading European states
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For instance, Von Glahn pointed out, and
Wills concurred, that identifying the Qing as a “colonial” empire tends to obscure
important differences from the better-known European colonialism. Similarly,
Goldstone cautioned, we should not be too quick to interpret the “closing of the
steppe” (that is, the fixing of previously amorphous frontiers in Central Asia) as
participation by Russia and China in the evolution of “Modern” European-style
nation-states. Rather, it would be more valid to examine that closing as a consequence
of the expansiveness of all the gunpowder empires, this development being much
more significant for Eurasia of that day than nascent European nation-building. The
rise of several authoritarian states in Asia from the fifteenth through eighteenth
centuries, also, can be seen more cogently as gunpowder-empire phenomena, rather
than as manifestations of the Mongol legacy, as Millward‟s paper suggested.
   The one paper which explicity cast doubt on the appropriateness of the
early-modern paradigm for seventeenth- and eighteenth-century China was also one
which overtly asked that any world-historical period-concept be linked to the
time-sensibility of the people who lived in those centuries. Lynn Struve‟s paper, 毧
himerical Early Modernity: The Case of „Conquest Generation‟ Memoirs,” proceeded
from the idea that contemporaries‟ sense of their place in the passage of time should
be especially visible in the numerous self-accounts that were written in the course of,
or after, the great disruptions that attended the fall of the Ming and the Manchu-Qing
conquest. In four sections, Struve (1) examined the phenomenal production of 涃
go-documents” in seventeenth-century China (regarding that production as an
outgrowth of late-Ming trends which did not continue in the eighteenth century), (2)
used the memory patterns in such ego-documents to refine the meaning of “conquest
generation,” (3) analyzed what those “memoirs” reveal as peculiar to Chinese
memory in comparative or universally human perspective, and, in relation to that, (4)
pointed out the influence of indigenous literary chronotopes, templates, and tropes on
the writing out of personal recollections in the early Qing.
   In each     section, Struve found interesting in some cases modernistic (that is,
resembling     the modern) developments in aspects of China‟s “advanced premodern”
civilization    but no cause to see signs of modernlity in the memoirists‟ sense of
themselves     in time. Predictably, this paper met with the discussants‟ approval but
made several of the conferees ill at ease. Perhaps the most important point raised was
that “the self” and “self-expression” as ideas in themselves, not to mention as criteria
of modernity or early-modernity, are more complex matters than the paper
   Generally, however, papers on the second day of the conference, devoted to
“Chinese Time,” elicited a greater variety of thoughts from the designated discussants
and other participants than on the first day, when early modernity dominated. Most
interesting were observations on the interrelatedness of papers that treated seemingly
disparate subjects.
   Intersecting in different ways with Struve‟s paper were those by Judith Zeitlin
(EALC Dept., Univ. of Chicago), 浧 ictims of History: The Temporality of the Ghost
Story and Dynastic Change,” and by Tobie Meyer-Fong (Dept. of History and Art
History, George Mason Univ.), “Packaging the „Men of Our Times‟ Literary
Anthologies and Political Accommodaton in Early Qing.” 浧 ictims of History,” as
did Struve‟s paper on memoirs, concerned a literary means of dealing with past loss;
packaging the „Men of Our Times??as did Struve‟s paper, concerned the construction
of a generational identity on the part of highly literate survivors of the mid-century
time of troubles.
   Zeitlin‟s paper focussed on what she termed “the historical ghost tale,” that is, one
about traumatic historical events, usually political in nature (such as dynastic fall and
conquest), as distinct from the ghost story of individual mortality. (The former often
centers on an individual but is basically concerned with historical change.) The
historical ghost tale, Zeitlin pointed out, differs from that of most Ming or Qing
historical fiction or drama in not attempting to erase the difference between past and
present; it seeks, rather, to 洖 ramatize the present 掇 encounter with the past.” 洍 n
the foreground is always the self-conscious awareness of loss, of a temporal distance
that cannot be bridged....? After briefly sketching the historical ghost tale 掇 literary
genealogy and thematic characteristics, Zeitlin took up early Qing stories that were
“haunted” by the fall of the Ming, treating in greatest depth the story of Lin Siniang
林四娘. Her point was that “these historical ghost tales about the recent past
participate in the cultural work of mourning, enabling the threatening memory of the
old dynasty to resurface, to be tamed and rehabilitated, and finally be put to rest and
   Discussion dealt mainly with the mode of closure exhibited in the early-Qing
historical ghost tale, which often is that of the ritual act, rather than that of creating an
acceptable story of the past as in historiography and commemoration. Related to this
was Zeitlin‟s further point that, of all the forms that ghosts can take in Chinese ghost
tales rengeful, menacing, pitiful, etc., those which represent the Ming in the Lin
Siniang stories are not vengeful. The aim was to achieve reconciliation by replacing
the dead with the living.
   If Zeitlin‟s paper could be said to have dealt with a kind of purgation, then that by
Meyer-Fong dealt, so to speak, with a post-purgation mood with how litterateurs in
the middle Kangxi 康熙 reign-period created a positive outlook for themselves on
the present. Specifically, she focussed on the compilation, editing, and publishing
activities of Deng Hanyi 鄧 漢 儀 (1617-1689) and his coteries, principally in
Yangzhou 揚州, the most substantial outcome of which was a four-volume collection
of poems and comments on them, the Shiguan 詩觀 (Poetic views). This anthology,
Meyer-Fong suggested, is exemplary of a new enthusiasm in early Qing to gather and
highlight the poetic works of living contemporaries. Throughout subsections on Deng
Hanyi himself, the principles he followed in selecting authors and poems for the
Shiguan, his practice of publicly collecting materials for this serial anthology through
the postal system from farflung parts of the country (as well as through personal
networks of literary acquaintances), the financing of publication (which included
official patronage), and the communal, conversational style of the Shiguan,
Meyer-Fong emphasized the social significance of this literary endeavor in its day.
She argued that 涐 n editing this book, Deng Hanyi participated in the construction of
a contemporary sensibility which encompassed both the traumas of the immediate
past and the reality of Qing political control over Chinese time and space.?
   Another important point of this paper is that such reconciliatory projects as the
Shiguan were well under way on the regional level, organized by regionally
prominent scholars, before the high-profile, court-sponsored boxue hongci 博學鴻詞
(also boxue hongru 儒) special examination in the capital (see below). This suggests
that the post-conquest accommodation between officialdom and intelligentsia was not
as much a response to governmental initiatives as has been commonly thought.
   Appropo mention of the boxue hongci examination, the paper by Bai Qianshen 白
謙慎 (Dept. of Art History, Boston Univ.) took a welcome, new approach to that
subject by treating the event not so much in its political implications, as has been
usual in scholarship, but in its cultural significance in the intellectual history of the
Qing period. In “Turning Point: Politics, Art, and Intellectual Life during the Boxue
Hongci Examination (1678?679),” Bai focussed not on the examination itself but on
the rich social, scholarly, and artistic interactions that took place among the more than
150 participants, and between them and metropolitan officials during the six months
between the autumn of 1678, when most of them arrived in or near Beijing, and the
spring of 1679, when the examination was held. He identified this milieu as one
which reflected important intellectual debates and 烞 haped the cultural landscape of
the following century.”
  Figures of particular interest to Bai, in exploring the responses of older and younger
scholars to the imperial invitation, their debates, correspondence, and group creative
activities, were Fu Shan 傅山, Yan Ruoju 閻若-, Pan Lei 潘耒, and Wang
Hongzhuan 王弘(宏)撰. Discussion centered on the consequences of the special
examination, first, for the careers of the candidates whose success or failure in it
occurred at different points in their lives (some being much older and more
established in their reputations than others in that year), and second, for the promotion
of certain styles in scholarship, belles lettres, poetry, or calligraphy.
   A common matter of interest in discussions of the above two papers was the
dynamic of relations among people in older and younger age ranges and how different
socio-cultural generations sought to define themselves, given their respective common
experiences and the general milieu of early Qing times. Certainly pertinent to this
were relations among biological generations, especially of male figures, during and
following a period of wrenching dynastic turnover. This was one aspect of the
concerns of Hsiung Ping-chen 熊秉真 (Inst. of Modern History, Academia Sinica,
Taipei) in her paper, “Family Fate and National Crises: Reflections on Changing
Father-Son Relations in the Longer Modern China.”
  This paper was unique at the conference in specifically addressing the domestic
sphere. Hsiung placed the father-son relation at the crux between public and private in
that, as males in a patriarchal system, they represented the public (visible,
authoritative) force vis-?vis the private (concealed, submissive) force of other
members of the family; but, from the standpoint of the state, most of them (along with
other members of the family) represented the “private domain” of ordinary subjects,
as distinct from the domain of wielders of official power. Yet, Hsiung averred, this
pivotal relation has been widely misunderstood as replicating on the family level the
values of “loyalty and filiality” (zhongxiao 忠孝) which were so emphasized in the
political realm. Actually, Hsiung demonstrated extensively, the values of
“compassion/kindness and filiality” (cixiao 慈 孝 ) were much more frequently
invoked in contemporaneous representations of Qing-period father-son relations.
   Having covered a wide span in Chinese family history from late Ming to the
Republican period, Hsiung concluded with an important thesis: During a later time of
national crisis, the late Qing and early Republic, when modern ideas about
nation-building were ascendant, late Ming and early Qing times were looked back on
for parallels. Consequently, an isomorphism of state-subject, father-son, zhongxiao
relations, which was seen as conducive to modern state-building, was retrospectively
imposed on the seventeenth century. This has resulted in a misconstrual of the
father-son bond ever since, which interferes with our understanding of how the
passage of time as generational succession was experienced by men in the domestic
sphere during the Qing period. Discussion of Hsiung‟s paper focussed mainly on
methodological issues of source-use, especially on whether the kinds of sources she
relied on most heavily show us the reality or the conventional biographic
representation of father-son relations.
    Somewhat related to generational change, but intersecting more with the papers by
Struve and Zeitlin in treating the memory and commemoration of the dead, was that
by Zhao Shiyu 趙世瑜, with research assistance from Du Zhengzhen 杜正貞
(History Dept., Beijing Normal Univ.), “Birthday of the Sun: Historical Memory in
Southeastern Coastal China of the Chongzhen Emperor‟s Demise.” This paper, like
that by Menegon, raised issues of popular-level belief systems and their relations with
峱 r separateness from ”the conceptual patterns of the highly educated. It begins by
noting suggestive correspondences, in the late Qing and twentieth century, among
commemoration of “the birthday of the sun,” the date of the Chongzhen 崇禎
emperor‟s suicide (the 19th day of the 3rd lunar-calendar month), and characters or
phrasings (such as mingming zhu 明明珠 or Zhu Tian 朱天) which seem to connect
the names of the Ming dynasty and its imperial lineage to dieties associated with the
sun or the sky. After sorting through evidence from the Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, and
Taiwan regions, dating from the early twentieth century back to the Shunzhi 順治
and early Kangxi reign periods, Zhao hypothesized that ritual observance of the sun‟s
birthday on 3/19 originated in covert commemoration of the Ming dynasty among
literati of the heavily loyalist Ningbo 寧波 region. He surmised that, when the
original meaning of that covert commemoration was lost in the passing of generations,
its date was retained and its form and spiritual content were transmogrified and
perpetuated in popular religious practice.
   This paper raised a number of fascinating issues in the dynamics of collective and
historical memory in Qing-period society and culture. The most important point of
discussion, raised by Von Glahn, was whether we should imagine such a 烢 ermeable
membrane?between popular thought and literati thought, which would allow the sort
of transformation posited by Zhao. An alternate view, that popular and literati
understandings of the sun-birthday observance took form and were transmitted
separately, in distinct cultural spheres, down to the late Qing, can also be made
consistent with the evidence that Zhao brought to light. Zhao responded with the
thought that there probably were separate popular and literati spheres which
converged or became linked intermittently.
 The paper by JaHyun Kim Haboush (EALC Dept., Univ. of Illinois), “contesting
Chinese Time: Temporal Inscription in Late Choso 搖 Korea,?juxtaposed with that by
Zhao, showed how the death and commemoration of the same person, the Chongzhen
emperor, could take on dramatically different meanings in different cultures and
politico-historical situations: those of early-Qing China and late-Choso 搖 朝顯
Korea. The latter never truly accepted the legitimacy of “barbarian” Manchu rule of
China or their domination of Korea. Thus, the Koreans continued domestically, under
some circumstances, to use the Chongzhen reign title in historical dating. The central
concern of Haboush‟s paper, however, was neither commemoration nor alternative
dating systems (which included, of course, the sexagesimal cycle). Rather, she
brought to the foreground a matter of great importance for the conference which lay
dormant in all but one of the other papers “what time is a valued commodity,”control
over the segmentation, labeling, and allocation of which is contested in political,
historiographical, and personal spheres. This contestation, she pointed out, is just as
integral to the assertion of sovereignty as gaining control over territory.
  Pursuant this thesis, in her paper Haboush discussed „the Korean practice of
temporal inscription and its meaning in the context of the Korean search for a new
identity” after the subjugation of the Choso‟s court by the Manchus and the fall of the
Ming dynasty. Concentrating on two discursive sites, (1) continued ritual sacrifice, by
both Yi-dynasty 李朝 rulers and Korean scholar-officials, to certain Ming rulers, and
(2) the use of Chinese reign titles and their significations, Haboush articulated the
relation between temporal marking and various dilemmas that emerged as Korea was
forced to reconfigure its world, granting Qing China geo-political hegemony but
assuming for itself the responsibility of carrying on, absent the Ming, as the center of
Confucian civilization. The numerous enlightening comparisons which this paper
offered between literati responses to the Qing conquest in China and Korea were the
main foci of the rich discussion which Haboush elicited from the other participants.
   Another paper, in addition to those by Menegon and Haboush, that addressed the
historical and cultural significances of specific methods of temporal schematization
was the one by John Henderson (History Dept., Louisiana State Univ.),
“Seventeenth-Century Reconceptualizations of Astronomical History and Time.”
Therein, Henderson presented certain conundrums in the history of Chinese
astronomy, a tradition which “conceived heavenly bodies primarily as visible markers
in the invisible order of time” but could not completely overcome the
incommensurability between celestial movements (representing the Way of Heaven)
and human calendars (representing the affairs of humankind). He also explained,
however, how Chinese astronomers reconciled respect for the astronomy of the
ancients with the verities of conceptual and methodological progress in mathematical
astronomy and direct observation of the heavens over the centuries.
    Particularly notable about the seventeenth century, Henderson asserted, was that
scholar-astronomers regarded their own time as marking a culmination in their science,
even as they increasingly accepted the possibility that discrepancies between celestial
phenomena and calendrical systems never could be wholly eliminated. Taking
advantage of technical advances in mensuration made available through the Jesuits,
seventeenth-century astronomical savants became more comfortable with anomalies
and discrepancies as challenges to science, rather than as threats to the cosmic order
of Heaven, Earth, and Man. The presentation especially aroused questions from other
conferees about the socio-political context of these changes in scientific attitude and
practice, as well as observations on the significance of the valuation of progress that
Henderson described.
   Perhaps it is fitting to conclude this report with mention of two drafts which, in
effect, addressed how people of that time sought to map out and utilize their own
macrohistorical world-time schemata. A prospectus for a paper by Mark Elliott
(History Dept., Univ. of California at Santa Barbara) on “Manchu Historical
Consciousness in the Early Qing” outlined an inquiry into pre-conquest Manchu
translations of, and conscious deploymnent of precedents from, the Liao, Jin, and
Yuan standard histories. Elliott intends to investigate the degree to which “Qing
leaders saw themselves acting within the chronological continuum established by
these earlier conquest dynasties,” that they “understood their enterprise as part of a
continuing project carried out in the shadows” of those previous northern peoples who
sought to control parts or all of China. He emphasized, however, that the
Liao-Jin-Yuan heritage was looked to, at this early point, not to bolster the legitimacy
of conquest or of non-Han rule, but to derive pragmatic lessons in how such rule
should be established and stabilized.
   Discussion of this research plan was led by Elliot Sperling (Dept. of Central
Eurasian Studies, Indiana Univ. at Bloomington), a well-known specialist in the
history of Tibetan politics and religion. Sperling addressed Elliott‟s emphasis on the
Manchus?early self-identification with the Liao, Jin, and Yuan as a means of
dissolving the dichotomy of civilization vs. barbarism. He pointed out that such an
identification could be double-edged, as it proved to be especially in late Qing when it
was taken to confirm Manchu barbarity. Regarding the esoteric powers which Qing
emperors purported to derive from Tibetan Buddhism, Sperling pointed out that the
Yuan/Mongol derivation of that tradition, mentioned by Elliott, was not the only
source. Intimate conferral of such powers by Tibetan Buddhist emissaries also was a
feature of the Ming emperorship: the two paths, Mongol and Ming, into early Qing
ideology were not mutually exclusive. Thirdly, regarding Tibetan sources of Qing
legitimation, Sperling called attention to the Fifth Dalai Lama 掇 ready identification

bring about a Buddhist transformation of China.
   Other questions and comments on Elliott‟s subject concerned the particular ways in
which the Manchus were reading their Liao-Jin-Yuan lessons, and what other images
or models from Chinese traditions came into the Manchus?purview in the
pre-conquest years, besides those from the Liao, Jin, and Yuan.
   This last question was raised by Roger Des Forges (History Dept., State Univ. of
New York at Buffalo), whose substantial paper, “The Qing Formation in Chinese and
World History: Views from the Central Province in the Mid-Seventeenth Century,” set
forth a wide array of invocations of the Chinese past by literati in Henan Province, as
they attempted to orient themselves and guide their own actions while the Ming order
succumbed, first to Li Zicheng‟s 李自成 armies and then to invading Manchus. Most
salient among those “models” or references were two: (1) the Shang-Zhou 商-周
transition of antiquity, when a people from the periphery of the the Xia 夏
culturesphere, under the leadership of a ducal regent, restored order and propriety to
the heartland and founded a long-lived dynasty which became the consummate
paragon of civilized governance; and (2) the mid-Tang restoration of legitimate rule,
with crucial assistance from the Uighur Turks, after occupation and destruction of the
capital and civilizational center, Chang 惊 n 長安, by rebels in the middle of the
eighth century. Des Forges explored the various ways in which parallels with the
Zhou and the Tang were conceived and interpreted over time, not only by Henanese
and other erstwhile Ming subjects, who took a range of positions vis-?vis the Qing
from ready accommodation to active resistance, but also by the Qing court itself, the
leaders of which by 1644 had considerably extended their range of familiarity with
Chinese historical precedents and had grown in their ability to deploy them in
propaganda aimed at both the Qing state ranks and the populace.
   Des Forges‟s paper was a valuable complement to Elliott‟s in taking up the
sometimes double-edged relation between historical self-positioning and action choice,
in this case at the crucial point of of the Manchu-Qing conquest of North China.
Discussants remarked on Des Forges‟s demonstration of how universal frames of time
are instantiated in particular situations, and of the rich availability and malleability of
layers or facets of the Chinese historical past in molding plausible justifications of
questionable courses of action. Queries concerned the effects of ethnic and regional
factors, as well as the nature of any actual interplay between the Henan literati and the
Qing court ideologues.
   General discussion both during and after the paper sessions included ruminations
on what “the Qing formation” might productively be construed to mean. So far as the
conference content was concerned, the vagueness of this concept seems at least to
have allowed scholars of diverse accomplishments to present a panoply of knowledge
and ideas on the early Qing which attracted and held the intense interest of all who
  Of those papers which were made available by the authors, some which worked
especially well together around the conference themes were selected by a planning
committee for editing, by Lynn Struve, and for projected publication in conference

Lynn Struve
History Department
Indiana University at Bloomington
Conference on the Qing Formation in World and Chinese Time
Indiana University, June 10-13, 1999/7/23
Presented papers:
Peter Perdue, “The Qing Empire in Eurasian Time and Space”
James Millward, “Contextualizing the Qing: The Return of the Torghuts and the „End
of History‟ in Central Eurasia”
Evelyn Rawsky, “The Qing Formation and the Early Modern Period”
John E. Wills, “Contingent Connections: Fujian, the Emppire, and the Early Modern
Eugenio Menegon, “‟Teachings of the Lord of Heaven‟ in fujian: Between Two
Worlds and Two Times”
Jonathan Hay, “Art and Macro-historical Narrative: The Early Qing”
On-chao Ng, “‟Early Modernity‟ as an Epochal Concept in Chinese Intellectual
Lynn Struve, “Chimerical Early Modernity: The case of „Conquest-Generation‟
Zhao Shiyu and Du Zhengzhen, “Birthday of the Sun: Historical Memory, in
Southeastern Coastal China, of the Chongzhen Emperor‟s Demise”
Jahyun Kim Haboush, “Contesting Chinese Time: Temporal Inscription in Late
Choson Korea”
John Henderson, “Seventeenth-Century Reconceptualizations of astronomical History
and Time”
Bai Qianshen, “Turning Point: Politics, Art, and Intellectual Life during the Boxue
Hongru Examination”
Tobie Meyer-fong, “Packaging the „Men of Our Times”: Literary Anthologies and
Political Accommodation in Early Qing”
Roger Des Forges, “Views from the Central Province”
Mark Elliott, “Manchu Historical Consciousness in Early Qing”
Judith zeitlin, “Victims of History: The Temporality of the Ghost sTory and Dynastic
Hsiung Ping-chen, “family fate and National Crises: Reflections on changing
Father-Son Relations in the longer Modern China”

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