Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796-1889

Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796-1889

Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796-1889

Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796-1889

Synopsis

This is the first volume of a two-volume social history of the commercial hub of central China in the nineteenth century. The emphasis here is on the dynamism of late imperial commerce, the relation of the metropolis to the hinterland, and the corporate institutions of the city, notably its guilds. The second volume, Hankow: Conflict and Community in a Chinese City, 1796-1895, focuses on the people of Hankow.

Excerpt

This is the first part of a projected two-part study of nineteenth-century Hankow, which began with my dissertation research at Columbia University. Although I have tried to make this volume in itself a coherent and satisfying whole, some themes introduced here must inevitably await fuller treatment in the sequel, and certain issues important to understanding Hankow society have been deliberately played down. Chief among them is social conflict, which will be a central concern of the subsequent volume. Hankow was a notoriously violent place; nevertheless, it was also remarkable for the degree to which the temptations to divisiveness and conflict were overcome, and to which the city genuinely worked as a social unit. It is this aspect of local history that I have chosen to emphasize here.

In the course of this study, many teachers, friends, and colleagues have generously offered me their assistance and support. Foremost among them were my three successive dissertation advisors at Columbia: C. Martin Wilbur, James Polachek, and Andrew Nathan. Each contributed a different set of concerns to my understanding of my subject, and I have profited greatly from them all. To Andy especially I can never adequately convey my thanks. During my various research sojourns I was aided by John Dolfin of the Universities Service Center, Hong Kong; Chang P'eng-yüan and Su Yün-feng of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan; Ichiko Chŭzō of the Tōyō Bunko, Tokyo; Shiba Yoshinobu of Osaka University; Mark Elvin of the University of Oxford; Hsiao Chih-chih, Kao Shang-yin, and P'eng Yühsin of Wuhan University; P'an Hsin-tsao of the Hupeh Cultural and Historical Office; Hsu Ch'ing-an and Chai Hsüeh-chao of the Wuhan Municipal Archives; Chu Te-yuan and Liu Kuel-lin of the Ming-Ch'ing Archives, Peking; and P'eng Tse-i of the Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. I especially thank Professor Hsiao, Professor Shiba, and Mr. Su for their bibliographic guidance.

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