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Crisis and Development at the Margins of the Qing Empire: Imperial Finances and Natural Resources in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Xinjiang
Crisis and Development at the Margins of the Qing Empire: Imperial Finances and Natural Resources in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Xinjiang
WhenThursday, Oct 17, 2019, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationGowen Hall (GWN)
Campus roomEast Asia Library, Seminar Room 2M
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Description

This presentation explores patterns of natural resource development in Xinjiang during a period of deep financial distress for the Qing state in the 1850s. Conventional histories of this period suggest that imperial officials dealt with major shortfalls in government revenues by adopting a range of fiscal measures, including the imposition of new taxes. This presentation shows that, in the empire’s western borderland, officials sought to solve financial deficits by accelerating the exploitation of land and mineral resources. By examining this period through the lens of environmental history, the presentation offers a new interpretation of the relationship between political crisis in China and colonial projects in Xinjiang.

Peter Lavelle is an assistant professor of history at Temple University, where he teaches courses in Chinese and environmental history. He is the author of The Profits of Nature: Colonial Development and the Quest for Resources in Nineteenth-Century China (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2020). With support from the Henry Luce Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, he is currently working on a book about the history of Chinese agricultural science. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.

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