Defamiliarizing the Foreigner: Sima Qian’s Ethnography and Han-Xiongnu Marriage Diplomacy

  title={Defamiliarizing the Foreigner: Sima Qian’s Ethnography and Han-Xiongnu Marriage Diplomacy},
  author={Tamara T. Chin},
  journal={Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies},
  pages={311 - 354}
  • Tamara T. Chin
  • Published 24 November 2010
  • Sociology
  • Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
Tamara T. Chin examines how relations between China and the Xiongnu transformed the discourse of China’s imperial frontiers during the Han dynasty (206 b.c.e .–220 c.e .), and particularly how early Han dynasty political debates about the Han-Xiongnu “peace through kinship” (heqin 和親) treaty shaped Sima Qian’s ethnography. She shows that Sima Qian, whose description of the Xiongnu introduced empirical ethnography into the Chinese tradition, represented the Xiongnu from multiple perspectives and… 
Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation, and Identity of China's Majority - eScholarship
Addressing the problem of the ‘Han’ ethnos from a variety of relevant perspectives—historical, geographical, racial, political, literary, anthropological, and linguistic—Critical Han Studies offers a
The Ethos of the Envoy and his Treatment by the Enemy in Han History
The Shiji is the first Chinese book of history from which the authors can learn something about the practice of sending out envoys to non-Han states in early China and it is interesting to see that the feeling of Han superiority expresses itself by the beginnings of a system of tribute that others had to bring to Chang’an.
The Nomad as State Builder: Historical Theory and Material Evidence from Mongolia
Theory on nomadic political complexity has largely been based on twentieth century ethnography and numerous historical accounts of the military confederations of pastoral nomads. Over the past two
Voices from the Steppe
This chapter introduces the problem of studying the nomadic states of Inner Asia and specifically the Xiongnu state of the third century BC. Nomadic peoples in general have not been portrayed with
The rise of Chinese exceptionalism in international relations
Although exceptionalism is an important dimension of China’s foreign policy, it has not been a subject of serious scholarly research. This article attempts to identify manifestations of
Shahrazad’s 1001 Mediations: Translation in the Inter-Imperial Economy
Abstract:This article builds on longue durée global historiography to identify the role of imperial translation projects in culture and political economies, clarifying how these economies rest on
Xiongnu “Kings” and the Political Order of the Steppe Empire
AbstractDescriptions of the political order of the Xiongnu empire rely heavily upon Chinese historical narratives and, as a result, often simplify steppe politics and gloss over provincial political
The Strange Flight of the Peacock: Farmers’ Atypical Northwesterly Migration from Central China, 200 BC–1400 AD
A common Chinese proverb—“A peacock flies southeast”—could describe the normative idea of the southeasterly spread of agriculturalists as a trend in historical China. Indeed, northwest China was the
The Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD) and the Song Dynasty (960 AD to 1279 AD)
The Qin dynasty collapsed fifteen years after it had unified China. The Qin dynasty, though repressive, had offered China peace and stability after 500 years of war and instability. However, after
Steppe Cores, Sedentary Peripheries, and the Statecraft of Empire
This final chapter highlights the outcomes and broader importance of this reassessment of formative Inner Asian politics. The political traditions of Inner Asia and China represented very different


Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History
Introduction Part I: 1. The Steppe Highway: the rise of pastoral nomadism as a Eurasian phenomenon 2. Bronze, iron and gold: the evolution of nomadic cultures on the northern frontier of China Part
The Writing of Weddings in Middle-Period China: Text and Ritual Practice in the Eighth through Fourteenth Centuries
views to everyone who teaches the samurai-loving public via the Heike is important work for mature young scholars. Eccentric Places, Hidden Histories is a work of comprehensive erudition, well worth
Text and Ritual in Early China
In Text and Ritual in Early China, leading scholars of ancient Chinese history, literature, religion, and archaeology consider the presence and use of texts in religious and political ritual. Through
The Cloudy Mirror: Tension and Conflict in the Writings of Sima Qian
kuai reports of spirit possession (pp. 10-12), poltergeists (pp. 133-34), etc. It remains debatable whether such assumptions are necessary, or even useful, for the successful use of hsiao-shuo texts
Writing culture : the poetics and politics of ethnography : a School of American Research advanced seminar
In these new essays, a group of experienced ethnographers, a literary critic, and a historian of anthropology, all known for advanced analytic work on ethnographic writing, place ethnography at the
The Mongols at China's Edge: History and the Politics of National Unity
Chapter 1 By Way of Introduction: Minzu Tuanjie and Its Discontents Part 2 Producing and Reproducing National Unity Chapter 3 Ritualizing National Unity: Modernity at the Edge of China Chapter 4
Praise and Slander: The Evocation of Empress Lü in the Shiji and the Hanshu
This article contains a close reading of the accounts of Empress Lu in the Shiji and the Hanshu. Its main argument is that the views of Sima Qian and Ban Gu about her are marked by considerable
Ancient China and Its Enemies
In 221 BCE the state of Qin eliminated the last of its rivals, putting an end to centuries' long endemic warfare of the Warring States (Zhanguo, 453-221 BCE) age. The First Emperor (Qin Shi Huangdi,
From Chronicle to Canon: The Hermeneutics of the Spring and Autumn according to Tung Chung-shu
1. Introduction Part I. Three Perspectives on the Authenticity of the Ch'un-ch'iu fan-lu: 2. A biography of Tung Chung-shu 3. A history of Tung Chung-shu's literary corpus 4. The authorship of the
Chinese family law and social change in historical and comparative perspective
labor-intensive methods and able to mobilize large numbers of peasants with the modern organizational methods of the commune, have been able to employ a more flexible and integrated approach, and to