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430 China Review International: Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall 1996 Dali L. Young is an assistantprofessor ofpolitical science and the author o/Calamity and Reform in China (Stanford University Press, 1996.) mi James L. Hevia. Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of1793. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1995. xv, 292 pp. Hardcover $49.95, isbn 0-8223-1625-0. Paperback $15.95, isbn 0-8223-1637-4. There has been much renewed interest in the historical significance of the 1793 Macartney mission to Qing China in both the West and China. For example, Joanna Waley-Cohen, in her recent article on Chinese reactions to Western technology in the late eighteenth century ("China and Western Technology in the Late Eighteenth Century," American Historical Review 98, no. 5 [1993]: 1525-1544), has revised earlier assessments of Qing dynasty blindness to world developments in the eighteendi century and has shown how these erroneous assessments grew out ofWestern technological superiority after the nineteenth-century industrial revolution, which was then read back into the Macartney mission to China by later historians and diplomats. This misassessment in Western attitudes toward China, Waley-Cohen argues, was also due in part to the Qing court's need under the Qianlong emperor (r. 1735-1795) to reassert the "public Chinese attitude of superiority toward foreigners" in the factionalized domestic politics of1793 at the same time that it avidly employed Jesuit experts in the arts ofwarfare for its late eighteenth-century military campaigns against rebels within the empire. Hevia's book continues this revisionist trend by reevaluating the Macartney mission in light ofQing foreign relations and die development ofmodern European diplomacy. Cherishing Men From Afar explores Manchu and British imperial formations in the late eighteenth century as the cultural productions of two expansive imperialisms with equally universalist pretensions. Their different modes ofpolitical practice based on competing sets ofhierarchical relationships and political claims betray, according to Hevia, substantially different conceptual frameworks and signifying practices. Consequently, the Macartney embassy to the Qianlong court© 1996 by University was not caught up in a simple conflict between a "traditionalist" Chinese tribute ofHawai'i Presssystem and a "modern" European diplomacy whose driving force was an entrenched "culturalism" in the traditional Chinese political world. Instead, Hevia suggests that the Chinese "tribute system" model used by John K. Fairbank and Reviews 431 many others since has overdetermined the confrontation by essentializing it as an inevitable confrontation between tradition (China) and modernity (the West), thereby missing the specific historical challenges that a land-based Qing Imperium and a seafaring British empire each faced when they encountered each other for the first time in 1793. According to Hevia, the two modes of Qing and British diplomacy must each be unraveled in order to understand how the Qing framework for imperial ceremonies ofguest ritual and imperial audience and the British notion ofinternational relations interacted. In the process, we learn how European discourse on diplomacy between equal states was itselfa historical artifact ofEuropean global expansion whose naturalizing discourse of sovereign equality in effect legitimated discursive forms ofsymbolic violence (Western superiority / Qing arrogance) in 1793 before diplomacy was transformed into open warfare (free trade / Opium War) in 1839—an argument that of course derives from Edward Said's Orientalism but is now redeployed in Sino-Western relations. We also see how the Manchu cosmopolitical order for the production and negotiation ofimperial power was based on specific ritual and ceremonial procedures that informed how Qing officials would handle the requests of an emissary ofthe British empire. The strength of Hevia's account lies in its clear delineation ofdie basis for Manchu rulership in the Qing Imperium. In a realm filled with heterogeneous Manchu, Mongol, Tibetan, and other ethnic lords, the Manchu rulers successfully used lordship as the basis for organizing interdomainal relations and incorporated such lords under the Qing emperor's claims to political preeminence. Ritual and its attendant forms ofceremonial behavior (i.e., "disposition ofbodies" via the kowtow, etc.) were the cosmologica! forms ofpolitical interaction between lords that revealed their inclusion under the Qing and the negotiated forms of that inclusion. Accordingly, Hevia makes it clear how the Macartney embassy to China was perceived by the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 430-434
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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