MRI Forum 48

"The Chinese Century (c.1740 to c. 1840):
Its Historical and Contemporary Significance"

by George Bryan Souza


Summary of the Presentation

During the Mid-Qing, China's population grew and commerce flourished. This prosperity produced opportunities and challenges for diverse groups and segments of Chinese society as well as for its imperial administration. This talk will review some of the academic discussions that have emerged recently that have focused upon the period of c.1740 to c.1840 as a "Chinese Century". The speaker  will examine the utility and highlight some of the implications of such a description for the study of China's past, its economic development, and the internal and external responses that developed locally, regionally, intra-regionally and globally, which may or may not resonate and explain contemporary interest in the history of the Qing dynasty. He will focus upon the integration and inter-connection of the maritime and internal Chinese economy during this period.

Profile of the Speaker

George Bryan Souza (Department of History at the University of Texas, San Antonio) is the author of The Survival of Empire: Portuguese Trade and Society in China and the South China Sea, 1630-1754, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986 and numerous articles.  Educated at Stanford University (B.A. with Departmental Honors in History), the School of Oriental and African Studies, at the University of London (M.A. in Southeast Asian Area Studies), and Trinity College, Cambridge University (D. Phil. In History), his research focuses on global maritime economic history (cross-cultural contacts, European relations with Asia, America and Africa) and early modern European history and its expansion from about 1600 to 1800.