China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
After the Taiping Civil War, in the context of both Muslim unrest and Christian missionary activism, supporters of the Qing regime employed specifically Confucian moral, religious language and symbols to reinforce their political and affective commitments. Challenging assumptions about the secularity of postwar reconstruction and reform, our papers examine the legacies of civil war and religious conflict on Confucian socio-moral politics, highlighting their transregional impact at the grassroots level. These case studies emphasize the importance of examining religious motives, particularly related to religious Confucianism, in postwar projects tied to stabilizing and advancing Qing order, both on the frontier and within the heartland. Schluessel and Theaker's papers consider the complex social and political legacies of Confucian revivalism at different geographical scales: Theaker’s local case study shows how campaigns against "unorthodox" Muslim belief (xiejiao) set new precedents for governance in the Northwest, while Schluessel points to the transregional legacy of the same project in the creation of a Hunanese diaspora from Kashgar to Shanghai, united in their devotion to the Changsha god-of-the-wall Dingxiang Wang. Sooter and Alexander’s papers both consider passionate advocates who imagined Confucianism as the sole means to restore political stability: Sooter examines how this pitted self-proclaimed orthodox Confucians against Qing laws permitting Christian missionaries, and Alexander considers what types of Confucian proselytizing were effective in this contentious environment. In order to facilitate discussion, presenters will be limited to fifteen minutes, and discussants Zhang and Meyer-Fong will encourage conversation between panelists and the audience in the ample time left.