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2. Internal Rebellions, 1850-64
About this Lecture
In the module, we think about the internal rebellions that weakened the Qing dynasty in the period 1850-64, focusing in particular on: (i) the figure of Hong Xiuquan and the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64); (ii) the influence of Christian missionary activity in southern China, and of Buddhist millenarianism; (iii) the reason why so many people in southern China joined up with the Taiping Rebellion; (iv) the ideology of the Taiping leadership, and the extent to which they differed from the Qing; (v) the extent to which the ethnic divide between the Qing leadership (Manchu) and the majority of Chinese population (Han) contributed to political unrest; (vi) the success of the Taiping Rebellion, and the reason it was ultimately defeated; (vii) the Nian Rebellion (1851-68) in northern China – the aims of the rebels and the extent to which they were successful; (viii) the extent to which the influence of the western powers – and of Britain and France in particular – grew in this period, and the extent to which this undermined popular support for the Qing dynasty; and (ix) the actions of the imperial household in this period, including the retreat of the Xianfeng Emperor to Jehol province, and the importance of Ci’an and Cixi in organising the defence of Beijing.
In this course, Dr Lars Laaman (SOAS, University of London) explores the history of China between the end of the First Opium War (1839-42) to the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911. In the first module, we think about the immediate aftermath of the First Opium War and the growing influence of the western powers up to the sweeping changes introduced by the Treaty of Tianjin in 1858. After that, in the second module, we shift our focus to two huge rebellions that took place almost simultaneously in different parts of the country – the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) and the Nian Rebellion (1851-68) – before turning in the third, fourth and fifth modules to explore the three phases of the Self-Strengthening Movement (1861-72, 1872-85, 1885-95). In the sixth module, we think about the Hundred Day’s Reform – an abortive attempt to introduce sweeping cultural, political and educational reforms to the Qing Empire – before turning in the seventh module the causes, course and consequences of the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1900). Finally, in the eighth module, we look at the final decade of Qing rule, in which the Qing administration made one last attempt at reform before its final collapse in 1911.
Dr Lars Laamann is a Lecturer in the History of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. He specialises in the history of imperial China, including popular religion, medicine, drugs and healing and Manchu culture in the Qing empire. His publications include Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China (co-authored with Frank Dikotter and Xun Zhou, 2004) and Christian Heretics in Late Imperial China (2006).
Cite this Lecture
Laamann, L. (2021, January 25). China – The End of the Qing Dynasty, 1842-1911 - Internal Rebellions, 1850-64 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/china-the-end-of-the-qing-dynasty-1842-1911/internal-rebellions-1850-64
Laamann, L. "China – The End of the Qing Dynasty, 1842-1911 – Internal Rebellions, 1850-64." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Jan 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/china-the-end-of-the-qing-dynasty-1842-1911/internal-rebellions-1850-64