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Title:Soft power and the Qing state: publishing, book collection, and political legitimacy in eighteenth-century China
Author(s):Chang, Lawrence
Director of Research:Chow, Kai-Wing
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chow, Kai-Wing
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Toby, Ronald P.; Shao, Dan; Huntington, Rania
Department / Program:East Asian Languages and Cultures
Discipline:East Asian Languages and Cultures
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):soft power
Qianlong
rulership
political legitimacy
publishing
China
Abstract:I explore the process by which the Qianlong emperor, who ruled China from 1736 to 1799, and his officials attempted to consolidate the political legitimacy of the Manchu ruling house over the Han Chinese populace through using institutions inside and outside the state to distribute imperial writings. The Qianlong emperor sought to appeal to the values of the Han Chinese literati in writings where he discusses his own understanding of Chinese ideals pertaining to statecraft, emphasizing how it is necessary for the ruler to share political power and concede to authority external to himself. Both officials and private publishers disseminated copies of the emperor’s writings through a variety of channels, most notably commercial bookstores and academies. Active cooperation between officials and the local elite was also crucial in the use of institutions to collect books for the bibliographic project “The Complete Collection of the Four Treasuries”, which the emperor initiated in order to showcase his support for civil learning. I argue that the variety of social classes and channels involved both in the distribution of imperially authored works and in the collection of books demonstrated an approach to consolidating political legitimacy that was more subtle and indirect than other methods that have been studied. I demonstrate that the eighteenth-century Chinese state sought to deploy soft power through the use of print media to appeal to the values of their subjects, reflecting strategies for affirming political legitimacy similar to those used by modern states.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/46710
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Lawrence Chang
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12


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