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- DescriptionHow did American schoolchildren, French philosophers, Russian Silogists, Dutch merchants, and British lawyers imagine China and Chinese law? What happened when agents of presumably dominant Western empires had to endure the humiliations and anxieties of maintaining a profitable but precarious relationship with China? In Chinese Law in Imperial Eyes, Li Chen provides a richly textured analysis of these related issues and their intersection with law, culture, and politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Using a wide array of sources, Chen's study focuses on the power dynamics of Si-Western relations during the formative century before the First Opium War (1839-1842). He highlights the centrality of law to modern imperial ideology and politics and brings new insight to the origins of comparative Chinese law in the West, the First Opium War, and foreign extraterritoriality in China. The shifting balance of ecomic and political power formed and transformed kwledge of China and Chinese law in different contact zones. Chen argues that recovering the variegated and contradictory roles of Chinese law in Western modernization helps provincialize the subsequent Euro-Americentric discourse of global modernity. Chen draws attention to important yet underanalyzed sites in which imperial sovereignty, national identity, cultural tradition, or international law and order were defined and restructured. His valuable case studies show how constructed differences between societies were hardened into cultural or racial boundaries and then politicized to rationalize international conflicts and hierarchy.
- Author BiographyLi Chen is associate professor at the University of Toronto and founding president of the International Society for Chinese Law and History. He has published on late imperial and modern Chinese law and society, Sino-Western encounters, and international law and empire, including a volume coedited with Madeleine Zelin called Chinese Law: Knowledge, Practice and Transformation, 1530s-1950s.
- Author(s)Chen Li
- PublisherColumbia University Press
- Date of Publication05/01/2016
- SubjectRegional History
- Series TitleStudies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintColumbia University Press
- Content Note18 b&w illustrations
- Weight454 g
- Width152 mm
- Height228 mm
- Spine36 mm
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