All the Debt Under Heaven: Empire of Impartiality and Qing Political Economy


Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies – Flexible




“All the Debt Under Heaven” investigates commercial disputes across ethno-cultural-national boundaries at multiple frontiers of the Qing Empire, bridging the usual divides among scholarly focuses on Sino-Western relations, Maritime Asia, Inner Asia, and internal minority ethnicities. Although these cases occurred at the margins of the empire, they were by no means marginal, but rather integral, to the construction of the very identity and characteristic of the Qing Empire. The discourse of impartiality—its articulation, invocation, modification, and neglect at different moments—provides a crucial prism to examine the Qing conceptualization of imperial sovereignty, liability, and its politics of difference in the long eighteenth century.