Society for Advancing the History of South Asia 3
World History Association 3
This panel explores these questions in the context of Qing China, Mughal India, and Imperial Russia. Each paper focuses on one empire and examines the processes of contesting, negotiating, and consolidating visions of empire in the early modern world. Challenging traditional understandings of the agrarian-bureaucratic empire as a monolithic political type that stymied social and economic development in the non-European world, this panel contributes to recent historiographical advances that show various Eurasian empires responding in diverse ways to similar challenges in the construction of large territorial states. Each paper takes up a specific Eurasian empire at a critical juncture in its emergence, and exposes the political and cultural contests that determined the composition and structure of the imperial political system.
In the case of early modern China, Keliher shows how the expansion of the Qing state (1636-1912) led to political contestations over who would be included and excluded from the empire; he then examines the process by which political and military outsiders were brought into the political system and made insiders. In India, Dayal looks at processes of contesting, negotiating, and consolidating Mughal ambitions in peninsular India and the resistance of actors in the Deccan region. In Imperial Russia, Monahan examines the case of a Central Asian emigre merchant to show how Siberian actors were incorporated and served the Imperial Russian state as it advanced eastward.