Law and Economy in a Complex State: The Development of Chongqing in the Qing Dynasty


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships


Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, History


This project uses materials from the Ba County archives, the First Historical Archives, and the manuscript collections of several libraries to outline the development of the urban market and court system in the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) inland port of Chongqing. It begins with a narrative of how the mountainous riverine port of Chongqing was first administered in the immediate post-conquest era. It then explains how and why these institutions were adapted over the course of the nineteenth century to suit the city's growing market, and how the interaction between court and market institutions became increasingly sophisticated over the century and a half after Qing conquest. This history of institutional evolution is then used as a background for explaining how the reform efforts of 1894-1911 transformed the terms of state-market relations in a way that would set the stage for the rest of the twentieth century. The conclusion of this work will explain how and why the founding of China’s modern state institutions should be considered the result of a modern transformation of imperial practices, rather than a radical break between a Chinese Past and a Modern Present.