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Encompassing Boundaries of the Ming and Early Qing Liaodong


This MA thesis examines the border makings in the Liaodong region of northeast China in the mid-15th to the early 16th centuries and the late 17th to the early 18th centuries. I dissect how people on both sides of the borders creatively chose their modes of interaction with the borders, depending on how they understood border(s): as a political technology, an institution, a physical barrier, and/or a cultural demarcation. Chapter 1 explores how the Chosŏn court’s five requests for changing the tribute route extended the borders between Ming Liaodong and Chosŏn Korea. Chapter 2 traces the border relationship of Liaodong in the interactions between Liaodong border officials and Jurchen merchants. Chapter 3 investigates the imaginary border between the Liaodong frontier and China Proper. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the transformation of the physical and ethnocultural boundaries of Liaodong from the Ming to the early Qing. My research suggests that Liaodong did not follow a linear process from a borderless frontier to a bounded borderland, and that frontier people were able to construct new local boundaries and modify their relationship with their borders.

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