Gods, Guns, and Gardens: China and the West, from the Manchu Conquest to the Opium Wars

This conference explores Sino-Western interactions from the beginning of the Qing dynasty in 1644 through the period of the Opium Wars.

Although in the past historians sometimes portrayed the Qing court as arrogant, xenophobic, and closed to the world, scholars have increasingly shown that the Qing were far more cosmopolitan, open, and connected than was once believed. Our presenters in this conference are experts in the history of interactions between China and the West, and they will be considering art, medicine, collecting, exotic animals, loyalty, diaspora, slavery, and war, among other topics.

Funding provided by the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and an anonymous donor.

Conference Schedule

Friday, April 12

9 a.m. | Registration and Coffee

9:45 a.m. | Welcome

  • Susan Juster (W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research, The Huntington) and Tonio Andrade (Emory University)

10 a.m. | Session 1: Canton

  • Moderator: Tonio Andrade (Emory University)
  • Susan E. Schopp (Independent Scholar, Crew Member, Friendship of Salem)
    “With and Without Words: Communicating in the Canton Trade, c. 1700-1842”
  • Fred Grant (Independent Scholar)
    “Keeping Control: The Eight Regulations Governing the Canton Trade”

11:30 a.m. | Lunch

12:30 p.m. | Session 2: Chinese Thought in Europe

  • Moderator: Dawn Odell (Lewis & Clark College)
  • Trude Dijkstra (University of Amsterdam)
    “‘Goed voor alle gebreecken’: Printing and Publishing Chinese Medicine in the Dutch Republic”
  • Peter Lorge (Vanderbilt University)
    “How Sunzi Became an Enlightenment Thinker”

2 p.m. | Break

2:15 p.m. | Session 3: Beyond the Borders

  • Moderator: Xing Hang (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
  • Leonard Blussé (Leiden University)
    “The Limits of Co-colonization: Chinese and Europeans in Southeast Asia”
  • Qiong Zhang (Wake Forest University)
    “When the Strange Became Too Strange: Writing World History in Post-Opium War China”

Saturday, April 13

9 a.m. | Registration and Coffee

10 a.m. | Session 4: Gods

  • Moderator: Qiong Zhang (Wake Forest University)
  • Xing Hang (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
    “Faith and Free Trade on a Multiethnic Frontier”
  • Eugenio Menegon (Boston University)
    “Whose Empire Were the Missionaries Serving? The Last Portuguese Embassy at the Qing Court (1753)”

11:30 a.m. | Lunch

12:30 p.m. | Session 5: Visuality and Gender in Canton

  • Moderator: Alexander Statman (UCLA)
  • Winnie Wong (University of California, Berkeley)
    “Is not this? The visual botanical investigations of John Brady Blake and Mak Sau in Guangzhou (1769–1773)”
  • Dawn Odell (Lewis & Clark College)
    “Gardens, Mirrors, and Beautiful Women: Masculinity in Chinese Port Cities”

2 p.m. | Break

2:15 p.m. | Session 6: The British

  • Moderator: Leonard Blussé (Leiden University)
  • Jessica Hanser (The University of British Columbia)
    “Sino-British Exchanges about Slavery and Freedom”
  • Stephen Platt (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    “A British Rebel in the Heavenly Kingdom: Augustus Lindley’s Taiping Fantasia”

3:45 p.m. | Closing Remarks

A black-and-white illustration of a Chinese city, with sailing boats in the foreground.

“Kiangsi” [Jiangxi] in Nieuhof, Johannes (1618–1672), An Embassy from the East-India Company (London: 1673). RB 128905. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.