- Editor’s Note
For over fifty years, research articles in Late Imperial China (fomerly Ch’ing-shih wen-t’i) have reflected the state of the field. At the half-century mark, it seems fitting to introduce a new occasional feature with a format that permits briefer and more direct reflection on the past, present, and future of late imperial Chinese history. To this end, we are pleased to introduce “Conversations,” in which colleagues are invited to comment on issues of general concern to the journal’s readers. These colleagues then have the opportunity to read and respond to each others contributions.
We inaugurate this feature by inviting distinguished senior scholars to comment, from a range of perspectives, on the present state and future trajectory of late imperial Chinese studies, with reference to its evolution over the past five decades. In the pages that follow, Evelyn Rawski, Robert Hegel, Paul Cohen, and R. Kent Guy discuss the question: “What were the most significant issues, debates, controversies, or challenges in Qing history when you got your degree? What are they today, what factors contributed to this change, and what lessons might we draw from this as the field continues to develop?”
In the years to come, we hope that this feature will develop into a forum for dialogue about important issues facing those who study late imperial China.
—The Editors [End Page v]