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A Translucent Mirror: History and Identity in Qing Imperial Ideology Paperback – April 16, 2002
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"Crossley [is] the leading historian of the Manchu rulers of the Qing. This engaging work is deeply nuanced and stimulating, and will shape the way scholars define 'China' and 'Chinese.'"--R. E. Entenmann, "Choice"
From the Inside Flap
IN THIS LANDMARK EXPLORATION of the origins of nationalism and concepts of racial identity in China, Pamela Kyle Crossley traces the shifting ideologies of a large, early modern land-based empire, the Qing (1636-1912). Drawing on a wide variety of primary sources, Crossley argues that motifs introduced under the Qing in the eighteenth century -- part of the crystallizing categories of identity that the Qing themselves promoted -- continue to distort the modern understanding of Qing origins. What has often been repudiated by nationalist foes of empire, it turns out, is frequently itself a creation of empire.
As the empire was formed, Crossley suggests, the complex or simultaneous rulership needed to address itself to increasingly discrete, abstract, genealogically constructed, and historicized audiences. She finds that these identities, some of which were adopted wholesale by nationalist spokesmen of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, bore at best a loose resemblance to the factual contours of the Qing period.
Concluding with a broad-ranging postscript on the implications of her research on studies of nationalism and nation-building in modern Chinese history, A Translucent Mirror will be indispensable for scholars and students.
Top customer reviews
It would also be better to skip the introduction, and return to it after reading the body chapters.
The book is probably better read in juxtaposition with Mark Elliott's Manchu Way.
No doubt this work contributes to scholarly understanding of Qing ruling style. It just does so in a way that is difficult to follow.