Irmy Schweiger's review of Cosmopolitanism in China, 1600-1950, published in Comparative Literature and World Literature, Vol. 2, no. 1, 2017, pp. 72–75.

Minghui Hu and Johan Elverskog, eds. Cosmopolitanism in China 1600-1950. Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2016. Cambria Sinophone World Series. ISBN 9781604979008. 332 pp.

By Irmy Schweiger (Stockholm University)

Cosmopolitanism in China 1600-1950 has its seeds in a conference held in 2012 at UC Santa Cruz that brought together scholars from the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica, Taiwan and scholars from universities in North America, mainly from the fields of history and religion. A selection of the fruits of the conference has now been polished and packaged in this handsome volume consisting of altogether eight research articles, organized chronologically and by topics, accompanied by a short introduction by the editors plus a useful index. The volume maintains two main points. The first is that cosmopolitanism in China is not a new phenomenon developed in the late nineteenth century when foreign ideas and theories were the focus of Chinese intellectuals’ discussions. Q…

Conferences in Tel Aviv University

It was my first time in Israel. I met some new friends like Asaf Goldschmidt, Gadi Algazi, Mark Gamsa, Ron Sela and saw many old friends and colleagues. The organizer Ori Sela impressed all of us with his attention to details and logistics, gourmet food, boutique hotel, beautiful campus and, most importantly, intellectual stimulation and archaeological tours! Ori also demonstrated his superhuman ability to participate in two intense conferences consecutively over the span of five days. The first one is called Rethinking Time in Modern China: An Sinological Intervention and the second one Asian Spaces: Border-crossing Dialogues. Moreover, Ori took us to two archaeological sites: Beit She'an and Tel Megiddo.

Below is a picture of me and my PhD advisor Benjamin Elman in Beit She'an.

Facing the Roman baths in Beit She'an.

Matthew Mosca's review of China's Transition to Modernity in the first issue of Journal of Chinese History

Professor Mosca is a meticulous reader. His summary of my book intrigues me, and I agree with his identification of all ambivalent and ambiguous parts of my interpretation. I truly appreciate this review.

On-cho Ng's review of China's Transition to Modernity on The Journal of Asian Studies (JAS)

Professor Ng's review provides an interesting distinction between retrospective and prospective dimensions of my work. Some food for thought.

UCSC seminar––part 8

The eighth set of readings is Tonio Andrade's The Gunpowder Age, which encompasses a fairly large literature on history of science, technology, warfare, state formation and competition. Andrade asks a poignant question: How did Europe conquer the world? Industrial revolution and capitalism alone could not explain Europe's military conquest and colonial power around the world. Steamships could go far and fast around the globe, but the cannons equipped on the steamships were the main advantage for them to defeat Chinese navies. How did this great divergence of military technology take place?

Andrade's part 3, dubbed the age of parity, describes several battles between Dutch and Zhengs in Taiwan on the one hand and the Manchu-Korean coalition against the Cossacks on the other. I think this is the best part of the book and the most important contribution he makes to the field. He explains in convincing details why Europe's military technology advanced while the Ming dynasty…

UCSC seminar–part 7

The seventh set of readings include parts 2 and 3 of Matthew Sommer's Polyandry and Wife-selling in Qing Dynasty China and a collection of judicial records called True Crimes in Eighteenth-century China, translated and edited by Robert Hegel.

Sommer speaks broadly to two bodies of literature. The first (social and economic history) searches for the roots of social crisis and revolution in China. The second (social anthropology) analyzes the disjunction between a variety of non-normative marriages and some practices were stigmatized but solved problems and met needs that normative noes could not. His case studies on wife sale is our focus. By meticulously tabulating and classifying his cases from court central archive to various local archives, Sommer analytically divides his cases into "anatomy of a wife sale," "prices in wife sales," "negotiation between men in wife sales," and "wives, natal families and children." Then he brought them toge…