China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This panel endeavors to engage the recent shift in paradigm that connects Qing diplomacy with broader historical trends, including legal, economic, cultural, and personal histories, with particular focus on the following thematic questions. How did the Qing’s changing way of interacting with people and polities outside China proper shape the empire’s perception of itself and redefine such conceptual frameworks as “nation,” “national interest,” and “sovereign rights?” How did the Qing strategically adopt and appropriate the language and practice of the Western-dominated “family of nations” to play in the game of imperial rivalries and defend its causes? How did individuals, both inside and outside the Qing imperial bureaucracy, participate in the construction of a new mode of Qing diplomacy and a new concept of “China,” through which they brought in their agendas, advanced their interests, and practiced intercultural negotiations? The panelists provide four pre-circulated papers on the following topics:
(1) Qing China’s interaction with Southeast Asia in the context of border enforcement, the idea of controlling people, and sovereignty.
(2) China’s shifting self-identification from a dynastic state to a nation-state through translation and diplomacy in the late nineteenth century.
(3) The role of Qing legations in London in defending Chinese sovereignty and the legal rights of the Qing government within the perimeters of international law; and
(4) The translation of “sovereignty” in the formation of Tibet treaties between Britain and China at the beginning of the twentieth century.