HISTORIOGRAPHY AND STATECRAFT IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY CHINA: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHAO I (1727-1814).
AuthorPRIEST, QUINTON GWYNNE.
KeywordsZhao, Yi, 1727-1814.
China -- Historiography.
Political science -- China.
Public administration -- China.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUntil recently, the majority of the studies of the intellectual history of late imperial China have interpreted Ch'ing dynasty scholarship in relation to the consolidation of Manchu political power and increased imperial authoritarianism in all areas of intellectual and cultural life. This study extends recent interpretations of the "internal" history of Ming-Ch'ing thought into the historical studies movement of the eighteenth century. It examines some of the earlier assumptions about the nature and functions of Ch'ing historiography to argue that eighteenth century historians, by concentrating on the textual problems in the standard histories, were consciously continuing statecraft commitments of their seventeenth century predecessors to a restored polity and public policy decisions based on historical texts. Without denying the real growth of the power and authority of the imperial institution in the Ming-Ch'ing period, this study further argues that it was in the nature of the traditional polity that the emperior play an important role in historical studies, dating to the Imperial Seminars of the Sung dynasty. In the eighteenth century not only did the emperor influence historians and their interpretation of the past; he also provided opportunities in the sponsorship of imperially commissioned works. The example of imperial patronage set the fashion of semi-official patronage of scholars, expanding the area of academic employment, and scholars moved freely between official, semi-official and private historical writing. Thus historiographic influences flowed in both directions from private historians to historian-officials and back again. This study recognizes the need for a quantitative examination of private scholarly activity in the Ming-Ch'ing period to support, deny or balance the "external" thesis that historical studies were distorted by Ch'ing authoritarianism and the "internal" one presented here. However, by summarizing the historiography of a broad range of presently well-known historians and closely examining the work of one historian, Chao I (1727-1814), this study has given specificity to the paradigmatic interpretations of "internalist" intellectual historians. Chao I's treatment of unofficial histories and the standard histories in the Nien-erh shi cha-chi are examined, together with several essays on institutional history. In form and content, they support the theses set forth in this dissertation.