“Actually, We Are Mongols!”: Resurgence of the Yuan Non-Han Ancestries in the Late Qing North China

Visiting Scholar Talks

Oct 17, 2023 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Common Room (#136), 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA,


Tomoyasu Iiyama | Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Waseda University; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2023-24


Mark Elliott | Mark Schwartz Professor of Chinese and Inner Asian History, Harvard University

Co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

This talk attempts to shed light on the largely unknown trajectories of the resurgence and evolution of Yuan non-Han ancestries in north China from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. By exploring three relatively well documented cases of the resurgence of the Yuan non-Han ancestry, this talk offers two tentative conclusions. First, the commemoration of the non-Han ancestries seems to have been roused by the two-century-long Gazetteers of the Great Qing Empire compilation project, over the course of which the state reiterated extensive surveys of local worthies, widow chastity, and martyred loyal subjects, including those from the previous dynasties. Second, the late Qing era (roughly mid-eighteenth to late nineteenth century) was one of the pivotal turning points in making of modern ethnic landscape in north China. The memory of Mongol rule authorized by the Qing official historiography have become the wellspring of the twentieth century minzu identity.

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