Talk by Julia Schneider on Book Inquisition under the Qing

The READCHINA project is happy to invite you to an upcoming talk by Dr. Julia Schneider on Monday 14 June 21, at 14:00 (German time). The talk will be held online via Zoom!


“Imperial Censorship of a Racist Discourse? The Qianlong Inquisition of Ming Books”

Julia C. Schneider, University College Cork


Did the Qianlong Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty issue an anti-racist campaign when he forbade Chinese books that discredited non-Chinese others? I answer these questions by analysing passages and terms that made Qing officials collect books for censorship in the Qianlong Emperor’s large-scale literary inquisition project (1772–1788).

Usually regarded as the ‘evil twin’ of his gigantic book collecting project, the Sikuquanshu 四庫全書 (“Complete Library in Four Branches”), this was a project to censor Chinese books, particularly books from Ming times. Among other criteria, censors were liable to forbid books that contained partial descriptions of the Jurchen (the Manchus’ ancestors), Liaodong (the region of Manchu origin), non-Chinese peoples at the Northwestern borders (Tatars and Oirats), and the most recent non-Chinese dynasties (Khitan Liao, Jurchen Jin, and Mongol Yuan).

From an analysis of books that were censored for the above-mentioned reasons we can learn if the Qianlong Emperor––as a Manchu emperor and thus belonging to a people with an identity that made them a ‘minority’ if compared to the largest constituency among their subject peoples, the Chinese––in fact attempted to break open a hegemonic Chinese discourse on others or ‘barbarians’ that he perceived not only as harmful, but also as discriminating and othering.

Dr. Julia C. Schneider is lecturer for Chinese history at the Department of Asian Studies at UCC. Before that, she was assistant professor at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen. Julia holds a Dr. phil./PhD in Oriental Languages and Cultures from the Universities of Göttingen and Ghent (2013), and an MA in Classical Sinology from Heidelberg University. Her book Nation and Ethnicity (Brill 2017) won the Foundation Council Award of the University of Göttingen. Julia has published articles and chapters on Chinese conceptual historiography (ethnicity, nationalism, colonialism), on non-Chinese ethnicities, and on Jurchen and Manchu studies in journals and books.


For the access code, please send an email to Lena Henningsen


Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Institut für Sinologie
Werthmannstraße 12
D-79098 Freiburg i. Br.

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