Beyond the Amur

Frontier Encounters between China and Russia, 1850-1930

Victor Zatsepine

  • Published: 2017. Paperback February 2018
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China
  • Bibliographic information: 240 pp., 20 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Beyond the Amur describes the distinctive frontier society that emerged in the Amur, a river region that shifted between Qing China and imperial Russia as the two empires competed for resources. Official histories depict the Amur as a distant battleground caught between rival empires. Zatsepine, by contrast, views it as a unified natural economy populated by Chinese, Russian, Indigenous, Japanese, Korean, Manchu, and Mongol people who crossed the border in search of work or trade and who came together to survive a harsh physical environment. This colorful account of a region and its people highlights the often overlooked influence of frontier developments on state politics and imperial policies and histories.
Victor Zatsepine is assistant professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Connecticut.

"Beyond the Amur offers a fresh and detailed look at the Amur frontier region and its rich history of environmental challenges, military conflict, and ethnic and political encounter."
-Olga Bakich, author of Valerii Pereleshin: Life of a Silkworm

"Victor Zatsepine's history of the formation and environmental condition of the Amur River region, a frontier or meeting place between China and Russia, is essential reading for anyone who wants a better understanding of Sino-Russian relations."
-Blaine Chiasson, author of Administering the Colonizer: Manchuria's Russians under Chinese Rule, 1919-29


1. A River Runs through It
2. They Came from Everywhere
3. Fur, Gold, and Local Trade
4. Imperial Russian Expansionism
5. Chinese Migrants in Frontier Towns
6. A Railway Runs through It
7. Conflict and War
8. Fading Frontiers


Appendix A: Chronology
Appendix B: Chinese Terms

"For those interested in Sino-Russian relations or Northeast Asia generally, Beyond the Amur provides considerable background on a huge, yet still largely undocumented, region. More generally, it serves as a reminder that our current world of highly securitised borders, with strict control of passage, is relatively recent and perhaps anomalous."
-Peter Gordon, Asian Review of Books