The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China

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Stanford University Press, 2001 - History - 580 pages
4 Reviews
In 1644, the Manchus, a relatively unknown people inhabiting China’s rude northeastern frontier, overthrew the Ming, Asia’s mightiest rulers, and established the Qing dynasty, which endured to 1912. From this event arises one of Chinese history’s great conundrums: How did a barely literate alien people manage to remain in power for nearly 300 years over a highly cultured population that was vastly superior in number? This problem has fascinated scholars for almost a century, but until now no one has approached the question from the Manchu point of view.

This book, the first in any language to be based mainly on Manchu documents, supplies a radically new perspective on the formative period of the modern Chinese nation. Drawing on recent critical notions of ethnicity, the author explores the evolution of the “Eight Banners,” a unique Manchu system of social and military organization that was instrumental in the conquest of the Ming.

The author argues that as rulers of China the Manchu conquerors had to behave like Confucian monarchs, but that as a non-Han minority they faced other, more complex considerations as well. Their power derived not only from the acceptance of orthodox Chinese notions of legitimacy, but also, the author suggests, from Manchu “ethnic sovereignty,” which depended on the sustained coherence of the conquerors.

When, in the early 1700s, this coherence was threatened by rapid acculturation and the prospective loss of Manchu distinctiveness, the Qing court, always insecure, desperately urged its minions to uphold the traditions of an idealized “Manchu Way.” However, the author shows that it was not this appeal but rather the articulation of a broader identity grounded in the realities of Eight Banner life that succeeded in preserving Manchu ethnicity, and the Qing dynasty along with it, into the twentieth century.

  

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Review: The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China

User Review  - Laura - Goodreads

My favorite reference on the Manchus. :D Read full review

Review: The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China

User Review  - Corry L. - Goodreads

This book has a lot of quotes from period sources and is filled with excellent detail describing the lives of the Manchus in Qing China and their attempts (both successful and not) at retaining a ... Read full review

Contents

XIV
39
XV
42
XVI
47
XVII
52
XVIII
56
XIX
63
XX
72
XXI
78
XLIX
234
L
235
LI
241
LII
246
LIII
255
LIV
257
LV
263
LVI
268

XXII
89
XXIII
90
XXIV
93
XXV
98
XXVI
105
XXVII
116
XXVIII
122
XXIX
128
XXX
133
XXXI
134
XXXII
138
XXXIII
146
XXXIV
152
XXXV
156
XXXVI
160
XXXVII
164
XXXVIII
175
XXXIX
182
XL
191
XLI
197
XLII
210
XLIII
212
XLIV
216
XLV
219
XLVI
225
XLVII
227
XLVIII
230
LVII
275
LVIII
276
LIX
284
LX
290
LXI
294
LXII
299
LXIII
305
LXIV
306
LXV
313
LXVI
322
LXVII
326
LXVIII
329
LXIX
333
LXX
337
LXXI
342
LXXII
345
LXXIII
346
LXXIV
355
LXXV
363
LXXVI
365
LXXVII
369
LXXVIII
373
LXXIX
505
LXXX
511
LXXXI
551
Copyright

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Page xxv - Our youth, of labor patient, earn their bread ; Hardly they work with frugal diet fed. From ploughs and harrows sent to seek renown, They fight in fields, and storm the shaken town.
Page xxv - Th' inverted lance makes furrows in the plain. Ev'n time, that changes all, yet changes us in vain — The body, not the mind — nor can controul Th' immortal vigour, or abate the soul.
Page 22 - I have heard of men using the doctrines of our great land to change barbarians, but I have never yet heard of any being changed by barbarians.
Page xx - Additional research was assisted by a research grant from the Joint Committee on Chinese Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, with funds provided by the Andrew W.

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About the author (2001)

Mark C. Elliott is Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History at Harvard University.

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