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Erik Mueggler
Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Literacy, Sovereignty, Bondage: a Native Hereditary Chieftainship in Qing China

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on social and political relations on the frontier of the Chinese Qing empire, based on analysis of an archive in two languages: Nasu and bureaucratic Chinese.

This book project explores a unique archive retained by a lineage of native hereditary chiefs during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) in southwest China. The archive is in two languages: bureaucratic Chinese and Nasu, one of four closely related Ne (or Yi) written languages. Its documents afford an unparalleled opportunity to work out a description of local relations and forms of subjugation in this periphery of the Qing empire. My inquiry begins with basic questions. What systems of ideas, conventions and practices surrounded each class of administrative, legal, personal, and ritual document in this archive? How did different practices of writing, copying, reading and reciting mediate the subjugation of ancestors, chiefs, wives, concubines, heirs, ministers, bonded tenants, and domestic slaves? Methodologically, how might attention to discrepancies and resonances across forms of writing usually kept separate illuminate social relations otherwise obscured?

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; East Asian History; East Asian Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 7/31/2019