The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture (Hardback)
  • The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture (Hardback)
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The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture (Hardback)

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£70.00
Hardback 560 Pages / Published: 23/10/2015
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The Qing dynasty (1636-1912)-a crucial bridge between "traditional" and "modern" China-was remarkable for its expansiveness and cultural sophistication. This engaging and insightful history of Qing political, social, and cultural life traces the complex interaction between the Inner Asian traditions of the Manchus, who conquered China in 1644, and indigenous Chinese cultural traditions. Noted historian Richard J. Smith argues that the pragmatic Qing emperors presented a "Chinese" face to their subjects who lived south of the Great Wall and other ethnic faces (particularly Manchu, Mongolian, Central Asian, and Tibetan) to subjects in other parts of their vast multicultural empire. They were attracted by many aspects of Chinese culture, but far from being completely "sinicized" as many scholars argue, they were also proud of their own cultural traditions and interested in other cultures as well. Setting Qing dynasty culture in historical and global perspective, Smith shows how the Chinese of the era viewed the world; how their outlook was expressed in their institutions, material culture, and customs; and how China's preoccupation with order, unity, and harmony contributed to the civilization's remarkable cohesiveness and continuity. Nuanced and wide-ranging, his authoritative book provides an essential introduction to late imperial Chinese culture and society.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442221925
Number of pages: 560
Weight: 1093 g
Dimensions: 236 x 160 x 41 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In this comprehensive history of Qing China (1636-1912), Smith offers an insightful interpretation of the empire's successes, the Manchu rulers' multiculturalism, and the dominant Han Chinese culture's enduring vigor. Organized both chronologically and thematically, the survey starts with an engaging overview of the political trajectory of China from the 14th century to the dawn of the 20th century, followed by an in-depth discussion of the Qing Empire's essential institutions. A renowned expert on Chinese cosmology and thought, historian Smith provides lucid discussions in the remaining pages on the major facets of the dynasty's cultural landscape, as well as the mechanisms that sustained its dynamics. The systematic attention that the survey gives to the mental world of the Qing Chinese supplements the dominant emphasis on political and socioeconomic history in other authoritative overviews of the dynasty. . . . Smith's work is up-to-date, providing synopses of recent debates and new findings in the field. An indispensable resource for teachers and students of late imperial and modern China, as well as for those who labor in the vineyards of world history courses. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. * CHOICE *
At once magisterial and engaging. . . . [In this] rich synthesis . . . Smith has provided us with a stimulating portrait of a complex civilization over a three hundred-year period. The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture is well worth reading now and will merit reconsulting in the future, as China's progress on the global stage continues, and as our students face a world increasingly subject to the realization of Chinese interests and Chinese influences. * Education About Asia *
The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture goes far beyond the boundaries of, and expectations for, a conventional textbook. It is an introduction to the history and culture of the Qing period that assumes no background, but the breadth of the subjects covered and the sophistication of their interpretation render this a valuable resource for scholars and teachers as well as for their students.Smith's erudition and experience derived from a lifetime of teaching and scholarship are abundantly displayed in the book.... Both the author and the publisher are to be commended for incorporating so many materials that will be of use to both beginning students and their teachers and to other researchers. * The Chinese Historical Review *
A must-read for students, as well as scholars, who desire a convenient guide to Late Imperial China. One of its greatest strengths is certainly the way the author ably provides a multilayered representation, carrying the reader from the New Qing debates to traditional histories based on events, from political institutions to social and economic behaviors, patterns of beliefs and structure of language, artistic realization and their diffusion . . . . If one single word could summarize the appreciation felt for such an accomplished work, it would be Imperial. It is Imperial because it is a majestic piece of art. It is Imperial because the main topic is the core values of Qing dynasty's imperial system. But more importantly, it is Imperial because of the author's mastery of the fundamental political attitude of all Chinese emperors: divide et impera. * Frontiers of History in China *
This book, all in all, has three impressive strengths that will benefit readers who are interested in the evolution of the Qing dynasty. First, it is very readable and the cited primary sources are abundant. Second, Smith cites a great deal of up-to-date English-language research on Qing history, with which readers can acquire considerable knowledge of the Qing dynasty. (In my opinion, this is the greatest contribution of Smith's book.) Third, the comprehensive discussions of pecific topics make this book suitable for graduate students who are interested in onducting research on the Qing dynasty. For these reasons, I strongly recommend his book to readers who are interested in researching the Qing dynasty. * China Review International *
This monograph provides a comprehensive understanding of Qing dynasty culture based on up to-date research findings. . . .The greatest merits of this monograph are its encyclopaedic content and balanced perspective. . . .[A]lmost all the key terms in the Chinese language that are essential to Qing dynasty culture can be found in its content, where appropriate translation and definition are always provided. Therefore, this monograph is extremely useful for general readers, who may wish to have a broad view on the field of Qing history, and for scholars, who perhaps specialize in one or several particular areas of Qing culture and are eager for an in-depth understanding of others. * Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies *
Present[s] a survey of traditional Chinese culture during the Qing dynasty in a clear, smoothly flowing narrative that makes even arcane material accessible to a nonspecialist. Smith incorporates new insights on gender, sexuality, science, technology, and law while preserving the details of case studies and local exceptionalism in ways that advance his stated desire to introduce readers to the vast diversity of Qing society and culture. There are deft references to contemporary political and academic concerns that help to provide a context for the interpretive stances taken in Chinese historical writing. The book is well-supplied with maps, photographs of personages and places, and illustrations from woodblock-printed texts that enhance the written word. Smith makes liberal use of translated passages from important philosophical and literary texts to give readers an idea of just how Chinese writers communicated their thoughts and sentiments. Chinese characters interspersed throughout the text remind readers that English translations can only approximate (and often distort) the meanings of the original. . . . Smith must be commended for having produced a textbook that will significantly contribute to pedagogy about China. * Journal of Chinese Studies *
Throughout his distinguished career, Richard Smith has done pioneering work on both the political history of the Qing empire and the cultural world of its ordinary people. In this authoritative, up-to-date, careful, and-one must say-brave work, Professor Smith effectively relates those two endeavors. He succeeds wonderfully in introducing the reader to common elements of Qing culture, while avoiding essentialization and remaining mindful of China's great diversity over time, space, class, and other socio-cultural divides. -- William Rowe, Johns Hopkins University
This is a splendid survey that takes account of the latest findings of the new Qing history while bearing in mind that Qing society was fundamentally Chinese. It is readable, informative, and very up-to-date. -- R. Kent Guy, University of Washington
Both students and research scholars will enjoy and learn much by reading this important volume. It is an outstanding achievement which explains, edifies, and encourages readers to view the complexities of Chinese civilization during the last dynastic era in confrontation with the forces of a globalizing world. Smith has produced a volume that displays great depth as well as a lucid prose style. -- Harriet Zurndorfer, Leiden University

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