Remaking the Chinese Empire
Manchu-Korean Relations, 1616–1911
Remaking the Chinese Empire examines China’s development from an empire into a modern state through the lens of Sino-Korean political relations during the Qing period. Incorporating Korea into the historical narrative of the Chinese empire, it demonstrates that the Manchu regime used its relations with Chosŏn Korea to establish, legitimize, and consolidate its identity as the civilized center of the world, as a cosmopolitan empire, and as a modern sovereign state.
For the Manchu regime and for the Chosŏn Dynasty, the relationship was one of mutual dependence, central to building and maintaining political legitimacy. Yuanchong Wang illuminates how this relationship served as the very model for China’s foreign relations. Ultimately, this precipitated contests, conflicts, and compromises among empires and states in East Asia, Inner Asia, and Southeast Asia – in particular, in the nineteenth century when international law reached the Chinese world. By adopting a long-term and cross-border perspective on high politics at the empire’s core and periphery, Wang revises our understanding of the rise and transformation of the last imperial dynasty of China. His work reveals new insights on the clashes between China’s foreign relations system and its Western counterpart, imperialism and colonialism in the Chinese world, and the formation of modern sovereign states in East Asia. Most significantly, Remaking the Chinese Empire breaks free of the established, national history-oriented paradigm, establishing a new paradigm through which to observe and analyze the Korean impact on the Qing Dynasty.
Yuanchong Wang is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Delaware.