History Workshop

Spring 2016 - Tuesdays 12:30-1:45 - 203 Munroe Hall

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 ~ 12:30-1:45 pm

The Myth of Provincialization: Late Imperial China and Korea, 1392–1902

Yuanchong Wang

Assistant Professor
University of Delaware

China since the late fourteenth century maintained a hierarchical and familistic relationship with Korea. The two countries had a clear natural border in Manchuria, but their politico-cultural boundary within the Chinese empire was very ambiguous. The Chinese imperial discourse always described Korea as a committed member of the Sinocentric extended family. When Beijing was confronted with political crises in Korea, some Chinese officials and intellectuals repeatedly proposed that Beijing should convert Korea into a province or several prefectures and counties of China. In the late nineteenth century, this approach to provincializing Korea was further informed by European colonial practices that became prevalent in Southeast Asia, on the one hand, and by China’s own policy of integrating Mongolian, Tibetan, and Xinjiang areas in Central Asia into Chinese territory, on the other. This talk discusses why China chose not to colonize Korea in late imperial times when China itself experienced a dramatic reconstruction.
The 2015-2016 academic year represents the fortieth year in which the Workshop serves as a regular part of the History Department life. Bring a lunch. All are welcome! For more information, please call (302) 831-2371.

Univ. of Delaware Department of History