China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

(40) Rereading Qing History through Diaries

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Maryland Suite A, Lobby Level

How do we read and use diaries as historical sources? Recent publishing and database projects in China have created accessibility to diaries of both notables and relative unknowns. But even as diaries suggest tantalizing access to secret conversations and hidden motivations, they overwhelm with social complexities, coded language, and mundane routines. The papers on this panel consider late Qing diaries in light of governance, rebellion, diplomacy, and reform. As the papers demonstrate, diarists involved with official bureaucracies and projects had diverse personal, emotional, and official motivations for keeping daily records. Bingyu Zheng will explore ethnicity and urban space through the descriptions of daily life, routines and relationships in the diary of an adopted bannerman in nineteenth-century Beijing. Emily Mokros will consider the information-gathering techniques and emotional allegiances of a low-level capital official during the ravages of the mid-nineteenth-century rebellions. Jenny Huangfu Day will focus on global and domestic influences in late Qing envoy reports, reflecting transition away from the travelogues distinctive of early Qing envoys. Ke Ren will read a late Qing scholarly diary to map the intersections between political and publishing circles centered in Nanjing. Andrea S. Goldman, who has used diaries extensively in her work on Qing urban culture and politics, will comment on the papers. In addition to generating a conversation about how personal voices connect to overarching political narratives, each panelist will foreground primary sources by describing reading strategies and the limitations and advantages of diaristic sources.

Presentations:

Emily Mokros

University of California, Berkeley, California

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Ke Ren

College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts

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Andrea S. Goldman

University of California, Los Angeles, California

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Bingyu Zheng

Princeton University, New Jersey

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Emily Mokros

University of California, Berkeley, California

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Jenny Huangfu Day

Skidmore College, New York

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Ke Ren

College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts

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Andrea S. Goldman

University of California, Los Angeles, California

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