China and Inner Asia
Borderlands are sites and consequences of interactions among various socio-political forces. This panel examines how diverse legal apparatuses contested to negotiate and thus shape the construction of the “Miao territories” during China’s Ming and Qing dynasties. Focusing on the regions centered at the Wulingshan Mountains (west Huguang and east Guizhou) and Yueliangshan Mountains (southeast Guizhou and Guangxi), it explores the dynamic processes of the conflict and adaptation of the legal orders under the Miao natives, aboriginal offices (tusi), and the imperial forces. Yonglin Jiang studies the localization of the Ming imperial law in the Wulingshan Miao territory, and argues that Ming law against the Miao resulted from on-going negotiations among the Miao, Tu, and Han forces. Centered on the customs of “returning bone seeds” and “compensating for bone prices” in west Hunan in the Qing dynasty, Xiaohui Xie examines how ritual practices of the Miao and Aboriginal Office areas and the dynastic law together shaped the legal cultures, which in turn impacted on the ethnic identify formation and spatial change of the “Chinese borderlands.” Xiaoguang Xu and Bin Xu looks at the “Miao customary law” by exploring the practice of “burying rocks” in the Yueliangshan Mountains during the Qing dynasty and demonstrates how the Miao rules became transformed into the “proper law” of the imperial “Miao regulations.” By examining the war against human trafficking in 18th-century Guizhou, Laure Zhang shows the selection of Miao people’s practices into the dynastic legal order and the impact on imperial law by borderland experiences.
Paper Presenter: Yonglin Jiang – Bryn Mawr College
Paper Presenter: Xiaohui Xie – Sun Yat-Sen University
Paper Presenter: Xiaoguang Xu – Jiangsu Normal University
Paper Presenter: Laure Zhang – University of Geneva