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In Session: Locality and Temporality between Qing China and Northeast Asia
4: Unpacking Qing China: Manchu Philology, Eurasian Geopolitics, and Global Knowledge in Early Modern Japan and Germany
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Columbia University, United States
Speaking of the studies of the Manchu language, it is widely known that Japanese and German scholars acquired impressive academic achievements since the early 20th century. In fact the traditions of Manchu studies in Japan and Germany can be traced back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Starting from the late 18th century, the scholars in Japan and Germany made significant contributions to Manchu studies in two sides of Eurasia simultaneously. By studying various Manchu sources, Japanese and German scholars were able to further develop their understanding of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet significantly after the 18th century. The interests in studying Manchu of German and Japanese intellectuals were closely related to the integration of Eurasian intellectual exchanges facilitated by the relationships between the Qing dynasty and the Russian Empire. By contextualizing the scholarly works of Manchu studies by German and Japanese scholars, such as Gerhard Friedrich Müller (1705-1783), Julius Klaproth (1783-1835), Takahashi Kageyasu (1785-1829), and Tei Ei-nei (1829-1897), this paper studies Russia’s geopolitical interests in her Far East spurred Manchu studies in Germany and Japan between the 18th and 19th centuries. Additionally, this study sheds light on the important roles of Manchu in the process of information circulation and integration in modern Eurasia.