China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia

By Peter C. Perdue | Go to book overview

1

Environments, State Building,
and National Identity

THREE theoretical perspectives inform this work: frontier environments, state building, and the construction of national and ethnic identities through historical representation. Many historians, recognizing the critical role of the environment in shaping human affairs, have focused on the interaction between man and nature. Western writers have, however, inflicted a debilitating environmental determinism on the analysis of Asian history that reflected nineteenth-century European assumptions of racial superiority. In the eighteenth century, Baron de Montesquieu contrasted the flat, monotonous plains of Asia with the varied landscape of Europe to explain the contrast between Asiatic despotism and European freedom. Karl August Wittfogel's Oriental Despotism carried on the same style of analysis by connecting Chinese imperial autocracy and Soviet communism alike to state control of hydraulic works.1 Both used grossly oversimplified contrasts between European and Asian environments to undergird ideological arguments protecting Western liberties against threats from the East. Responsible environmental history has to shake off this tainted legacy and look at much more nuanced relationships between humans and their natural surroundings without political preconceptions.

The American geographer Ellsworth Huntington drew a direct connection between environmental change in Central Eurasia and the evolution of civilization. As he stated in The Pulse of Asia, after travels through Chinese Turkestan from 1903 to 1906:

In relatively dry regions increasing aridity is a dire calamity, giving rise
to famine and distress. These, in turn, are fruitful causes of wars and

-15-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 725

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.