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Jonathan Schlesinger is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University.

Jonathan Schlesinger is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University.
  • Produktdetails
  • Verlag: Stanford University Press
  • Seitenzahl: 288
  • Erscheinungstermin: 11. Januar 2017
  • Englisch
  • Abmessung: 236mm x 161mm x 23mm
  • Gewicht: 546g
  • ISBN-13: 9780804799966
  • ISBN-10: 0804799962
  • Artikelnr.: 45003056
Jonathan Schlesinger is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University.
Contents and Abstracts Introduction: chapter abstract In 1886
the explorer H. Evan James claimed to discover pristine nature in Manchuria; the only order in Manchuria
he enthused
was Nature itself. Strikingly
a century and half earlier
China's Qianlong emperor (r. 1735-1795) celebrated the region in similar language. Still further
his court went to extraordinary lengths to defend both the Manchu homeland and its unspoiled nature. What
constituted pristine nature in the Qing? 1The View from Beijing chapter abstract A momentous change occurred in eighteenth-century China: fur
together with other products that seemed both exotic and natural
became popular. What meaning did natural objects have in everyday life? Using archival and literary evidence
pawnshop records
travel accounts
and sumptuary laws
the chapter shows how consumer patterns and marketplace understandings of nature shifted through the course of the eighteenth century. From a world where no Chinese word existed for products such as "marten" and "Manchurian pearl
" consumers ushered in a new one where connoisseurship of furs marked elite status
and words existed for every part of each animal's anatomy. Though faux furs
farmed ginseng
and imitation wild Mongolian mushrooms flooded the street
knowing consumers sought the real thing: undyed
uncultivated products from the far north. While at first a court fashion
by the mid-eighteenth century nature was for sale throughout the streets of Beijing. 2Pearl Thieves and Perfect Order chapter abstract Something strange happened in Manchuria under Qing rule: its freshwater mussels disappeared. Stranger still
the Qing empire did everything in its power to preserve them: draft soldiers; fortify passes; patrol rivers; send boats and horses and silver and men. It streamlined the bureaucracy and revamped the local administration. "Nurture the mussels and let them grow
" the emperor ordered; let Manchuria have mussels. Chapter explores what happened: the collapse of the pearl fishery the attempts
in the language of the Qing court
to "nurture the mussels." The court put its full weight behind efforts to create a long-term sustainability: it reorganized the administrative structure
empowered territorial governors
and created militarized off-limits areas. Poachers were arrested; the mussels allowed to rest. Through a detailed description of the tribute system
the ecological crisis
and the court's response
the chapter documents how a reinvented Manchuria came to be. 3The Mushroom Crisis chapter abstract As the pearl crisis raged
a rush for wild steppe mushroom moved to the center of the imperial agenda in Mongolia. Unheralded and forgotten
steppe mushrooms were big business in the Qing; by the 1820s
thousands of undocumented workers crossed the internal boundary from China to Mongolia each year in search of mushrooms. The chapter opens with the case of a passport forger whose arrest triggered a court edict against mushroom picking in 1829; we have little else of the affair in Chinese. The archives in Ulaanbaatar
contain hundreds of documents that detail the long
violent conflict that culminated in his arrest. By analyzing the confessions of mushroom pickers and the depositions of local officials
the chapter reconstructs the history of the mushroom rush and explores how a recreating a "pure" and pristine environment in Mongolia became the top concern of the court. 4The Nature in the Land of Fur chapter abstract In the borderland with Russia
a similar crisis emerged with furs: From the Altai Mountains to the Pacific Ocean
then foxes
then squirrels vanished from the forest. In response
the Qing state again mobilized itself for another "purification" campaign: it repatriated trespassers
reinforced the boundary line around hunting zones
and attempted to ensure the long-term sustainability of fur-bearing animals. The chapter documents the interconnections between local
and global fur trades in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and provides a case study of the environmental crisis in Tannu Uriankhai lands
in modern Tannu Tuva. There too
the archives show
the Qing court attempted to "purify" local nature and remake it as pristine. Conclusion: chapter abstract The resulting analysis of these dynamics provides a framework for rethinking the global invention of nature. We cannot understand the invention of "pure" nature
both within and beyond the China
without a more nuanced and multifocal understanding of empires or the archives they produced. Putting peripheral places like Mongolia at the center of our histories
and learning to look both ways across frontiers
allows us to gain new vantages on how to transcend entrenched distinctions between foreign and frontier
coast and continent
East and West. Ultimately
modern "nature" and Qing "purity" belong to a broader
global matrix of historical inventions. Nature as we know today has deep
imperial roots.