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Title: Rethinking the origins of ‘Western’ imperialism in China, 1790-1860: global constellations and imperial policies
Authors: Klein, Thoralf
Keywords: China
Opium War
Qing Dynasty
New Qing history
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: © Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Citation: KLEIN, T., 2012. Rethinking the origins of ‘Western’ imperialism in China, 1790-1860: global constellations and imperial policies. History Compass, 10 (11), pp. 789 - 801.
Abstract: In the light of recent scholarship, this article revisits the conventional understanding of the origins of ‘Western’ imperialism in China. I argue, in particular, that global factors must be taken into account to explain the silver crisis that precipitated Qing China’s conflict with the ‘West’, as well as the British decision to go to war and ‘Western’ military performance in the two Opium Wars. Utilizing concepts from New Qing History, I will further demonstrate that although Britain and other imperialist powers tried to impose their concept of sovereign equality on the Qing Empire by force, the treaty port system that evolved from the Opium Wars also owed a great deal to Qing Imperial policies of border control and legal arrangements. Instead of Chinese passivity, I emphasize Qing agency in the establishment of ‘Western’ transnational imperialism in China.
Description: Closed access
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1111/hic3.12002
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/18124
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12002
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Politics and International Studies)

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