Melissa Macauley - Professor of History, Northwestern University
The emigrant communities of southeast coastal China maintained strong connections with sojourning Chinese, and local events rarely remained exclusively local for long. Events had repercussions that rippled back and forth across the seas, illustrating the intimately shared historical experiences of people living within a vast maritime space. This presentation will explore the transnational effects of General Fang Yao’s campaign of village pacification in Chaozhou prefecture from 1869 to 1891. General Fang was officially charged with ridding this region of its powerful criminal underworld; collecting unpaid taxes; and imposing a militarized social order. His violent campaign of rural pacification not only transformed the social landscape of coastal Chaozhou, it had a significant impact on Shanghai and the British Straits Settlements. The lecture will apply the transnational scale of analysis to show how events can generate historical transformations in multiple sites. Melissa Macauley is the Fitzgerald Professor of Economic History at Northwestern University. She is the author of Social Power and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial China (Stanford, 1998), which was recently translated into Chinese and published by Beijing University Press. Her other publications reflect her research interests in the social and cultural history of crime, the port culture of the South China Sea region; and the transformation of non-Western law in the age of colonialism and imperialism. She is currently finishing a book on the history of Chaozhou, China in its transnational context. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Institute for Qing History at Renmin (People’s) University, among others.