Empire and Identity in Guizhou

Local Resistance to Qing Expansion

Jodi L. Weinstein

  • Published: December 2013
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History
  • Bibliographic information: 208 pp., 3 maps, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Studies on Ethnic Groups in China
  • Contents

This historical investigation describes the Qing imperial authorities' attempts to consolidate control over the Zhongjia, a non-Han population, in eighteenth-century Guizhou, a poor, remote, and environmentally harsh province in Southwest China. Far from submitting peaceably to the state's quest for hegemony, the locals clung steadfastly to livelihood choices-chiefly illegal activities such as robbery, raiding, and banditry-that had played an integral role in their cultural and economic survival. Using archival materials, indigenous folk narratives, and ethnographic research, Jodi Weinstein shows how these seemingly subordinate populations challenged state power.
Jodi L. Weinstein teaches history at The College of New Jersey.
Foreword by Stevan Harrell

1. Guizhou and the Livelihoods Approach to Zhongjia History

2. Natural, Human, and Historical Landscapes

3. The Consolidation of Qing Rule

4. Livelihood Choices in the Mid-Eighteenth Century

5. The Nanlong Uprising of 1797

6. A Legacy of Fragile Hegemony

Chinese Glossary

"Using archival sources, recent Chinese-language histories, and Zhongjia folklore, Weinstein gives a detailed account of a 1797 uprising. She argues that Zhongjia actions can best be understood as 'livelihood' strategies . . .The conclusion summarizes this argument and reflects on the hierarchy of ethnic groups under the Qing."

"Weinstein painstakingly pieces together images of Guizhou's changing landscapes and, in particular, those of an ethnic people that were somewhat absent from previous scholarly discussions. Building on solid historical studies...which emphasize indigenous response to China's colonization of the region, Weinstein's book also carries analytical and methodological significance. Most importantly, the in-between position of the Zhongjia and their semi-state spaces open up a productive venue to engage the interactive dynamics of structure and agency, as well as of state and society. Rather than treating 'Sinicization' as teleology, Weinstein suggests that 'advancement towards civilization' was by no means a fait accompli."
-Yu Luo, Asian Highlands Perspectives

"[A] brief but well-researched and contextualized study. . . [A]n important study of the late imperial encounter between the Zhongjia people of Guizhou Province in southwestern China and immigrants identified as Han, or "Chinese," bearing the dominant Confucian culture."
-Hugh R. Clark, Historian, The