History | Russo-Chinese Relations from the Treaty of Nerchinsk to 1911
T500 | 12820 | Lazzerini


Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with CEUS-U520

One may argue that Europe and the Orient met territorially only
along the frontier between the Russian and Manchu Empires.  Whereas
other European states met China in their trading vessels, factories,
and colonies, Russia and China shared an extensive common frontier,
where they fought and traded much like any other nations in
geographical proximity. Russia, however, represented the Christian
West, with its special view of the international order. Sovereigns
were moral and legal equals, and commerce was by the middle of the
seventeenth century a legitimate and even praiseworthy activity,
which enriched the state and reflected an individual’s moral
character. China, on the other hand, represented the Confucian East,
with its hierarchical view of the international order and its
rejection of commerce as a socially esteemed activity. The Russian
and Manchu empires had to develop institutions that would permit
them to coexist despite the inadequacy of their shared assumptions.

This course seeks to explore the evolving relationship between
Russia and China from the mid-17th century to 1911 and the collapse
of the Chinese monarchy. Conflict, diplomacy, and commerce will be
important concerns, but so will competing interests over local
peoples—non-Russians and non-Han—inhabiting the frontier zone
separating the two competitors and the role of the Russian Orthodox
Church as an outpost in the heart of Beijing.

Reading of primary sources, including the records of treaties
negotiated by the two parties, reports from military, scientific,
and religious agents in the field, and travelers’ accounts; and
secondary sources that analyze various aspects of Sino-Russian
relations. No examinations; two writing assignments, the first (two
pages) drawn from a primary source, and the second (15 pages) on a
topic chosen by each student and acceptable by the instructor.