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The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making

Sprache: Englisch.
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What is lost in translation may be a war, a world, a way of life. A unique look into the nineteenth-century clash of empires from both sides of the earthshaking encounter, this book reveals the connections between international law, modern warfare, … weiterlesen
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Titel: The Clash of Empires: The Invention of China in Modern World Making
Autor/en: Lydia H. Liu

ISBN: 0674019954
EAN: 9780674019959
Sprache: Englisch.
HARVARD UNIV PR

April 2006 - kartoniert - 318 Seiten

Beschreibung

What is lost in translation may be a war, a world, a way of life. A unique look into the nineteenth-century clash of empires from both sides of the earthshaking encounter, this book reveals the connections between international law, modern warfare, and comparative grammar--and their influence on the shaping of the modern world in Eastern and Western terms. "The Clash of Empires" brings to light the cultural legacy of sovereign thinking that emerged in the course of the violent meetings between the British Empire and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Lydia Liu demonstrates how the collision of imperial will and competing interests, rather than the civilizational attributes of existing nations and cultures, led to the invention of "China," "the East," "the West," and the modern notion of "the world" in recent history. Drawing on her archival research and comparative analyses of English--and Chinese--language texts, as well as their respective translations, she explores how the rhetoric of barbarity and civilization, friend and enemy, and discourses on sovereign rights, injury, and dignity were a central part of British imperial warfare. Exposing the military and philological--and almost always translingual--nature of the clash of empires, this book provides a startlingly new interpretation of modern imperial history.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction: Civilizations Do Not Clash; Empires Do 1. The Semiotic Turn of International Politics 2. The Birth of a Super-Sign 3. Figuring Sovereignty 4. Translating International Law 5. The Secret of Her Greatness 6. The Sovereign Subject of Grammar Conclusion: The Emperor's Empty Throne Appendix: Lin Zexu's Communication to Queen Victoria Notes Glossary of Chinese Characters Index

Portrait

Lydia H. Liu is Helmut F. Stern Professor of Chinese Studies, University of Michigan.

Pressestimmen

Liu offers an innovative analysis of the relationship between language and empire. Drawing on 'the semiotic turn of international relations,' she demonstrates how discourses on the meaning of 'sovereignty' shaped relations between the British Empire and China throughout the 19th century...The study's ambitious and rewarding interdisciplinary approach breaks new ground and will be embraced by scholars from a variety of fields. -- D. P. Gorman Choice 20050301 [An] absorbing and resourceful book...[Liu] presents many points that scholars of the 19th and early 20th centuries will find at once persuasive and still reasonably fresh...The Clash of Empires deserves a place in the library of every scholar of modern China. -- Pamela Kyle Crossley Far Eastern Economic Review 20041201 [A] challenging book...[The Clash of Empires] demands attention. -- Rebecca Karl American Historical Review 20050601 The book meticulously explicates the ways in which traces of imperialism of the nineteenth century still define our international worldview. By putting China's cultural/linguistic encounter with the British empire at the center of her examination of the colonial legacy, [Liu] also makes a case for the relevance of postcolonial critique to China studies...By unpacking the psychological and moral entanglements and struggles between the imperialists and their victims, The Clash of Empires takes us to rethink the power structure that undergirds the norms of international politics in the postcolonial world...In identifying new issues and exploring new methodology, this book is remarkably ambitious and has pointed contemporary scholarship's reflection on the topic to a new direction. -- Ya-pei Kuo Chinese Historical Review 20050501 The author of this wide-ranging and imaginative work sets out to examine what she calls "the semiotic turn of international politics" in the nineteenth century, as this "turn" was exemplified in Qing China's interactions with Western imperialism...Liu is especially good at showing not just the contingencies of the notions that had to straddle different languages, but the frightening human fragilities of the translational practices upon which the fate of Sino-Western relations rested. This is a good, and at times brilliant, book...The breadth of the text-based world that Liu conjures up for us is stimulating. -- Alexander Woodside Pacific Affairs
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