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Lecture 18

HIST 1055 Lecture 18: Lecture 18 East Asian States: Renovation 1620s-1740s

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HIST 1055

Why should we understand China and Japan to be “renovating,” not “stagnating,” during the age of European expansion? China and Japan: States Under Renovation ● The West vs. The Rest ● East Asian States c. 1620s-1740s: Renovation, Not Stagnation ○ “There have been … two parallel developments of the human race, one on the west of Europe-Asia, the other on the east …At the start, the Chinese seem to have been fairly equal to the Westerners … Whence the decay on the east, the increasing vigour on the west?” ■ The old narrative: ● While Europe expanded and developed, the previously powerful states of Japan and China were stagnating, turning inward, closing themselves off from the world. ■ A new narrative: ● From the 1620s through the 1740s, China and Japan were carrying out important and productive internal reforms. ● Their rulers were focused on an era of productive internal reforms. ○ China and Japan: Upheaval to Renovation ■ Both had civil war/political upheaval in 1600s ● Qing and Manchu dynasty established ● Tokugawa Japan established ● Both in sensitive political situations ● Looking to strengthen and stabilize their regimes ■ As a result of this they limit their contact with West/ideas/commerce that were seen as possible sources of destabilization of these new regimes ● Decided to focus on internal development instead ■ Preside for over 750 years ● Over rapid population growth, agricultural development, strengthened political empires, increased internal economic systems ○ Qing
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