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Chinese Imperialism, Ethnic Cleansing, and Military History, 1850-1877

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In the past two decades historical research and theoretical refinements have provided military historians with new insights into “Chinese imperialism,” late Qing warfare, and ethnic cleansing during the 1850-1877 campaigns in Northwest China, Central Asia, Yunnan, and Guizhou. In particular, Robert Jenks’ Insurgency and Social Disorder in Guizhou: The Miao Rebellion, 1854-1873, David Atwill’s The Chinese Sultanate: Islam, Ethnicity and the Panthay Rebellion in Southwest China, 1856-1873, and Hodong Kim’s Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877have stressed the commonality of Chinese practices with other colonial and imperial states. These authors share a common conclusion that the Qing re-conquest resulted in widespread massacres, ethnic relocations, and subsequent immigration of Han settlers into each region. This historiography examines recent works on the military aspects of the 1850-1877 conflicts in these ethnic and territorial “frontiers” and highlights opportunities for historians to take advantage of new theoretical and archival resources.

Affiliations: 1: The George Washington University


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