4 November - The Qianlong Literary Inquisition Project (1772-1788); Imperial censorship of a racist discourse?

School of History, UCC

Dr Julia C. Schneider, Department of Asian Studies, UCC

  • Thursday 4 November 2021, 16.00 (4 PM)
  • The paper will be delivered through MS Teams. Please, contact Dr Jérôme aan de Wiel, School of History, UCC, to obtain a Teams link: j.aandewiel@ucc.ie

Paper Did the Qianlong Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1636/1644-1912) issue an anti-racist campaign when he forbade Chinese books that discredited non-Chinese others? I answer this question by analysing passages and terms that made Qing officials collect books for censorship. I focus on the Qianlong literary inquisition project (1772–1788) which particularly censored Chinese books from Ming times (1368-1644). Among other criteria, censors were liable to collect and destroy books that contained partial descriptions of the Jurchen (the Manchus’ ancestors), Liaodong (the region of Manchu origin), and non-Chinese peoples at the Northwestern borders (the Manchus’ allies). The Qianlong Emperor was a Manchu emperor and thus belonged to a people with an identity that made them a ‘minority’ if compared to the Chinese, the largest constituency among the Qing subject peoples. From an analysis of books that were censored for the above-mentioned reasons we can learn if the Qianlong Emperor in fact attempted to break open a hegemonic Chinese discourse on others or ‘barbarians’ that he perceived not only as harmful for the Qing dynasty, but also discriminating and othering the Manchus and other non-Chinese peoples.

Dr. Julia C. Schneider is lecturer for Chinese history at the Department of Asian Studies at UCC. Before that, she was assistant professor at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen. Julia holds a Dr. phil./PhD in Oriental Languages and Cultures from the Universities of Göttingen and Ghent (2013), and an MA in Classical Sinology from Heidelberg University. Her book Nation and Ethnicity (Brill 2017) won the Foundation Council Award of the University of Göttingen. Julia has published articles and chapters on Chinese conceptual historiography (ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism), on non-Chinese ethnicities, and on Jurchen and Manchu studies in journals and books.

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