Survival in the Frontier Zone: Comparative Perspectives on Identity and Political Allegiance in China's Inner Asian Borderlands during the Sui-Tang Dynastic Transition (617-630)
- Journal of World History
- University of Hawai'i Press
- Volume 15, Number 2, June 2004
- pp. 117-153
- Additional Information
This paper investigates the relationship between identities and political allegiances on premodern frontiers. The first half of the paper is a case study of interactions between Turks and Chinese elites and commoners during the Sui-Tang dynastic transition. The second half compares Roman, mid-imperial Chinese, and early Islamic frontiers. The paper concludes that people in frontier zones tended to forge political ties based on self-interest and personal connections. Solidarities based on ethnic or religious allegiance were rare because premodern state power, transportation, and communications could not spread these ideals effectively.