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Imperial China, 1350–1900, Paperback by Porter, Jonathan (Used)

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Used: Acceptable

Publication Date: 2016-02-04
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Paperback : 410 pages
Author: Porter, Jonathan
ISBN-10: 1442222921
ISBN-13: 9781442222922

Product Description This clear and engaging book provides a concise overview of the Ming-Qing epoch (1368–1912), China’s last imperial age. Beginning with the end of the Mongol domination of China in 1368, this five-century period was remarkable for its continuity and stability until its downfall in the Revolution of 1911. Viewing the Ming and Qing dynasties as a coherent era characterized by the fruition of diverse developments from earliest times, Jonathan Porter traces the growth of imperial autocracy, the role of the educated Confucian elite as custodians of cultural authority, the significance of ritual as the grounding of political and social order, the tension between monarchy and bureaucracy in political discourse, the evolution of Chinese cultural identity, and the perception of the “barbarian” and other views of the world beyond China. As the climax of traditional Chinese history and the harbinger of modern China in the twentieth century, Porter argues that imperial China must be explored for its own sake as well as for the essential foundation it provides in understanding contemporary China, and indeed world history writ large. Review Porter capitalizes on four decades of teaching Chinese history to produce this work on China's last two dynasties. He emphasizes the mega trends and offers vignettes that will ingratiate the work to readers. These vignettes consist principally of biographies of leading figures and ordinary individuals whose lives reflect developments in the Imperial period. The book deviates from the usual interpretations of Chinese history that cover from the 17th century on as a response to the West. Instead, Porter emphasizes the domestic events and concerns that shaped the Qing dynasty’s (1644–1911) responses. Porter does not ignore the West's impact, but he places it in the context of indigenous developments that Chinese and Manchu policy makers faced. Another valuable distinction is Porter’s treatment of the Qing as a Manchu dynasty influenced by Chinese civilization. Until recently, conventional wisdom was that the Manchu rulers had rapidly become Sinicized and that the dynasty scarcely differed from traditional Chinese ones. Incorporating the insights of the New Qing historians, Porter examines the Qing as a multiethnic empire under Manchu leadership. The writing is clear and free of jargon, the book is well organized, and the maps are unfussy and fit in with the text.Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above., CHOICE Professor Porter has produced the ideal textbook for a late Imperial China course. I read the book with growing admiration and enthusiasm. There is, simply put, an enormous amount of wisdom and pedagogical experience embedded in this book, more than enough to guide undergraduate students for years to come. The content is balanced, with the story told in twenty disciplined chapters. The writing is clear and judicious and avoids pitfalls in a way that only an experienced teacher could. -- R. Kent Guy, University of Washington Reading Jonathan Porter’s Imperial China feels as comfortable as an old shoe and as clear as a new pair of glasses. Deftly incorporating a generation of Western scholarship on late Imperial China, Porter tells the story with a judicious use of the classical referents through which Chinese understand their own past. The product of four decades of teaching, this text should find a place in courses seeking to understand the last centuries of imperial rule and the background to China’s modern transformation. -- Joseph Esherick, emeritus, University of California, San Diego China's late Imperial period from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries is complex but essential to understanding the path to the modern world. Jonathan Porter’s new history of the period is conceptually compact while enlivened by vivid detail and consistent contact with the original documents. A wide range of readers will appreciate its unusual clar

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