Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

09.06.2023 Guest Lecture Dr. Julia Schneider: "Was the Qing a colonial empire?"

When: 09.06.2023 from 12:15 to 13:45
Where: Invalidenstraße 118, Room 507.


Abstract: In the 1990s some historians began to argue that colonialism as a concept can be applied to non-Western empires. Particularly the strategies and practices of conquest rule that the Manchu Qing Empire (1636/1644–1912) applied in Inner Asia and South China have been categorized as colonial. Thereby, some historians claim, the Qing can be compared to and analysed along the same parameters as the ‘usual suspects’ of colonialism, that is, Western empires such as Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain and others.

In my talk, I will trace perspectives of colonialism and postcolonial theories used by historians arguing in this way. Which concepts of colonialism do they apply? Which postcolonial theory do they follow? In how far are their analyses reasonable? Last not least, I will present my answer to the question if the Qing Empire was indeed a colonial empire.

By shedding light on these attempts to break open the dichotomy of ‘the West’ = colonizing actor versus ‘the Rest’ = colonized victim, I ask if and how this dichotomy can indeed be deconstructed by conceptualizing the Qing Empire as colonial. Thereby, I hope to inspire a discussion on the question how the conceptualisation of the Qing as colonial effects discussions on post-colonial societies on Taiwan and in Hong Kong, and moreover on Tibetan, Uyghur, and Mongolian people in the People’s Republic of China today.


Short CV: Dr. Julia C. Schneider is Lecturer in Chinese history at the Department of Asian Studies at University College Cork (Ireland). She holds a joint PhD in Sinology from the universities of Ghent and Göttingen and an MA in Classical Sinology from Heidelberg University. From 2014 to 2019, she was Assistant Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies, Göttingen University. Her book Nation and Ethnicity, published in 2017 by Brill, won the Foundation Council Award of Göttingen University. Her research interests are historiography, conceptual history, and ethnohistory in Ming, Qing, and Republican times as well as Manchu studies. She has published in journals such as Journal of Song-Yuan Studies, Journal of Asian History, and Global Intellectual History, and has a forthcoming paper in Saksaha: A Journal of Manchu Studies. (Contact: Dr. Julia C. Schneider,