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Multiple Otherness: Identity Politics in the Taiping Civil War

Multiple Otherness: Identity Politics in the Taiping Civil War During and after the Taiping Civil War (1851–64), the notion of the Other was implicated in the provocation and mediation of violence and, as a result, acquired a multitude of new meanings and manifestations. Focusing on the discourse surrounding the Taiping War, this article explores the multiple political, moral, and cultural implications embedded in the idea of otherness. Unpacking the propaganda discourse of both the Taiping rebels and the Qing government, the author investigates the making of the political enemy by opposing regimes. In particular, the construction of a religious and political enemy is vital to Taiping identity formation. The author focuses on marginal figures in historical and fictional accounts who traverse political boundaries and constitute a third category beyond demarcations of “us” and Other in Taiping propaganda and its Qing counterpart. In short stories, however, these figures are subject to moral judgment and thus subsumed under another form of normative narrative involving otherness. Only in the realm of fantasy and imagination are political and moral efforts to construct and modulate otherness finally called into question. This article explores the acute malleability of the Other during the violent and chaotic Taiping Civil War and in its aftermath. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture Duke University Press

Multiple Otherness: Identity Politics in the Taiping Civil War

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Copyright
Copyright © 2020 by Duke University Press
ISSN
2329-0048
eISSN
2329-0056
DOI
10.1215/23290048-8313598
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

During and after the Taiping Civil War (1851–64), the notion of the Other was implicated in the provocation and mediation of violence and, as a result, acquired a multitude of new meanings and manifestations. Focusing on the discourse surrounding the Taiping War, this article explores the multiple political, moral, and cultural implications embedded in the idea of otherness. Unpacking the propaganda discourse of both the Taiping rebels and the Qing government, the author investigates the making of the political enemy by opposing regimes. In particular, the construction of a religious and political enemy is vital to Taiping identity formation. The author focuses on marginal figures in historical and fictional accounts who traverse political boundaries and constitute a third category beyond demarcations of “us” and Other in Taiping propaganda and its Qing counterpart. In short stories, however, these figures are subject to moral judgment and thus subsumed under another form of normative narrative involving otherness. Only in the realm of fantasy and imagination are political and moral efforts to construct and modulate otherness finally called into question. This article explores the acute malleability of the Other during the violent and chaotic Taiping Civil War and in its aftermath.

Journal

Journal of Chinese Literature and CultureDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2020

References