State Versus Gentry in Early Qing Dynasty China, 1644-1699

State Versus Gentry in Early Qing Dynasty China, 1644-1699

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The transition from the Ming to the Qing dynasties in seventeenth-century China has long been depicted as a period of rupture. However, as Harry Miller demonstrates in this follow-up to his earlier study of the late Ming era, the shift was a much more complex one. Combining new archival and rare book research with a brisk, engaging narrative, it examines the humiliation of the Chinese gentry at the hands of the statist Oboi regents as well as the Kangxi emperor's self-declared Confucian sagehood in the 1670s, which effectively trumped the gentry's claim to sovereignty. Though undeniably violent and chaotic at times, the emergence of the Qing empire also exhibited significant continuities with Ming political and social structures. Miller's deft and nuanced portrait of the relationship between the two makes this a fresh and important study for scholars of Chinese and Asian history.

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  • Hardback | 186 pages
  • 142.24 x 218.44 x 15.24mm | 498.95g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • BasingstokeUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1137334053
  • 9781137334053

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'In this new book, historian Harry Miller again makes use of the gentry/state conflict paradigm he had developed and utilized so effectively in his first book to explore the way the state-versus-gentry interplay became a factor in the decision-making process of the Qing rulers as the new Manchu rulers began to establish their control of China. As was the case with its predecessor, State versus Gentry in Early Qing Dynasty China, 1644-1699 balances strong narrative and analysis to provide a deeper and more sophisticated awareness of what the dramatic and often painful decades of 'regime change' were like in seventeenth-century China.' - Murray A. Rubinstein, Senior Research Associate, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, USA 'Harry Miller's thought-provoking study extends his investigation of the Ming state-gentry conflict over Chinese political sovereignty into the founding years of the Qing from the Dorgon Regency to the mid-Kangxi reign. This beautifully written narrative incorporates translated passages from the writings of key imperial elites and scholar-officials in the midst of this sixty-year power struggle that culminated in the political and symbolic acceptance of the Kangxi Emperor's sagehood. This book is extremely important because it shows that the Ming-Qing transition was a period of great political continuity and synthesis, not one of conflict, violence, and ethnic divide alone. It also shows that the scholar-official class and Chinese political traditions had an important hand in the creation of the Qing imperial enterprise.' - Jane Kate Leonard, Professor Emerita of History, The University of Akron, USA

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About Harry Miller

Harry Miller is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Alabama, USA. He is the author of State versus Gentry in Late Ming Dynasty China, 1572-1644 (2009).

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