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Products for grant FA-56632-12

Diaspora and Empire: Cantonese in the West River Basin, 1570-1870
Steven Miles, Washington University

Grant details:

Upriver Journeys: Diaspora and Empire in Southern China, 1570-1850 (Book)
Title: Upriver Journeys: Diaspora and Empire in Southern China, 1570-1850
Author: Steven B. Miles
Abstract: Tracing journeys of Cantonese migrants along the West River and its tributaries, this book describes the circulation of people through one of the world’s great river systems between the late sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Steven B. Miles examines the relationship between diaspora and empire in an upriver frontier, and the role of migration in sustaining families and lineages in the homeland of what would become a global diaspora. Based on archival research and multisite fieldwork, this innovative history of mobility explores a set of diasporic practices ranging from the manipulation of household registration requirements to the maintenance of split families. Many of the institutions and practices that facilitated overseas migration were not adaptations of tradition to transnational modernity; rather, they emerged in the early modern era within the context of riverine migration. Likewise, the extension and consolidation of empire required not only unidirectional frontier settlement and sedentarization of indigenous populations. It was also responsible for the regular circulation between homeland and frontier of people who drove imperial expansion?even while turning imperial aims toward their own purposes of socioeconomic advancement.
Year: 2017
Publisher: Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes

Opportunity in Crisis: Cantonese Migrants and the State in Late Qing China (Book)
Title: Opportunity in Crisis: Cantonese Migrants and the State in Late Qing China
Author: Steven B. Miles
Abstract: Opportunity in Crisis explores the history of late Qing Cantonese migration along the West River basin during war and reconstruction and the impact of those developments on the relationship between state and local elites on the Guangxi frontier. By situating Cantonese upriver and overseas migration within the same framework, Steven Miles reconceives the late Qing as an age of Cantonese diasporic expansion rather than one of state decline. The book opens with crisis: rising levels of violence targeting Cantonese riverine commerce, much of it fomented by a geographically mobile Cantonese underclass. Miles then narrates the ensuing history of a Cantonese rebel regime established in Guangxi in the wake of the Taiping uprising. Subsequent chapters discuss opportunities created by this crisis and its aftermath and demonstrate important continuities and changes across the mid-century divide. With the reassertion of Qing control, Cantonese commercial networks in Guangxi expanded dramatically and became an increasingly important source of state revenue. Through its reliance on Hunanese and Cantonese to reconquer Guangxi, the Qing state allowed these diasporic cohorts more flexibility in colonizing the provincial administration and examination apparatus, helping to recreate a single polity on the eve of China’s transition from empire to nation-state.
Year: 2021
Publisher: Harvard University Asia Center
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780674251205
Copy sent to NEH?: No