Jodi Weinstein, History Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University
In 1797, members of the Zhongjia ethnic group in southwest China’s Guizhou province staged a major uprising against the Qing government. Emboldened by a potent combination of guerilla tactics, charismatic leadership, and supernatural beliefs, the rebels quickly seized every major town and transport route in western Guizhou. This paper offers the first Western-language analysis of the Nanlong Uprising. Drawing on both Qing archival documents and Zhongjia folk literature, Weinstein suggests that the Nanlong Uprising evolved out of a deeply entrenched culture of resistance in eighteenth-century Guizhou. Imperial and indigenous perspectives play equally important roles in this discussion. Qing documents shed light on the imperial government’s goals and priorities in Guizhou. Indigenous narratives, on the other hand, represent not historical fact, but selective historical memory, or the way people have chosen to perceive and remember the rebellion. They illustrate the fantasies that sustained and encouraged the Zhongjia rebels in their battles against an enemy they knew to be much stronger.