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A Non-Western Colonial Power? The Qing Empire in Postcolonial Discourse

Julia C. Schneider

Pages 311 - 342


In the last decades, new attention has been given to colonialism as a concept that can also be applied to non-Western empires. In particular, colonialism has been used to describe the diverse systems of conquest rule applied by the Manchu Qing dynasty (1636/1644-1912) in Inner Asia and South China.

This essay provides a conceptual history of how colonialism has been applied in the historiography of non-Western empires, using the Qing empire as a case study. Scholarly works in which Qing rule is conceptualized as colonial are read critically, in tandem with current understandings of global and Qing history as well as of colonial and postcolonial theory and empire studies. Finally, this essay discusses whether the concept of colonialism can be used meaningfully to analyze Qing rule and puts this discussion in relation to a general debate on the spatiality and temporality of colonialism studies and postcolonial theory.

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