In 1834 a group of missionaries and merchants working along the Chinese coast founded the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China (SDUKC). Based in Canton, it was intended as a means for providing China with the scientific knowledge that had made possible the progress and power of the Western nations. The Society planned to publish books in eight subject areas: history; geography; natural history; medicine; mechanics and mechanical arts; natural philosophy; natural theology; and belles lettres. Before the first Opium war started and the SDUKC’s activities came to an early end, only eight of the eighteen items that the Society initially planned to issue were published; priority was given to treatises on history and geography. This paper examines a treatise entitled "Gujin wanguo gangjian 古今萬國綱鑑" (Outline and Mirror of the Past and Present of the World) which was published in 1838 and provided the Chinese with one of the first full-length world histories. By examining and comparing the descriptions of four European populations, this paper seeks to demonstrate that the British merchants and Protestant missionaries that animated the SDUKC did not intend to attract the Chinese by generically demonstrating “the ‘progress’ of the Europeans”: they rather tried to convey to local readers a multifaceted picture of the European nations and populations in which a set of national stereotypes nurtured for centuries in Western sources were skillfully intertwined so as to convince the local élites of the superiority of the Protestant faith for guaranteeing the morality of the whole society and the prosperity of the country.

Early protestant historiography and the travel of some European “National Characters” to China: Karl F. A. Gützlaff’s Gujin wanguo gangjian 古今萬國綱鑑 (1838) / Casalin, Federica. - (2019), pp. 23-38.

Early protestant historiography and the travel of some European “National Characters” to China: Karl F. A. Gützlaff’s Gujin wanguo gangjian 古今萬國綱鑑 (1838)

Casalin Federica
2019

Abstract

In 1834 a group of missionaries and merchants working along the Chinese coast founded the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge in China (SDUKC). Based in Canton, it was intended as a means for providing China with the scientific knowledge that had made possible the progress and power of the Western nations. The Society planned to publish books in eight subject areas: history; geography; natural history; medicine; mechanics and mechanical arts; natural philosophy; natural theology; and belles lettres. Before the first Opium war started and the SDUKC’s activities came to an early end, only eight of the eighteen items that the Society initially planned to issue were published; priority was given to treatises on history and geography. This paper examines a treatise entitled "Gujin wanguo gangjian 古今萬國綱鑑" (Outline and Mirror of the Past and Present of the World) which was published in 1838 and provided the Chinese with one of the first full-length world histories. By examining and comparing the descriptions of four European populations, this paper seeks to demonstrate that the British merchants and Protestant missionaries that animated the SDUKC did not intend to attract the Chinese by generically demonstrating “the ‘progress’ of the Europeans”: they rather tried to convey to local readers a multifaceted picture of the European nations and populations in which a set of national stereotypes nurtured for centuries in Western sources were skillfully intertwined so as to convince the local élites of the superiority of the Protestant faith for guaranteeing the morality of the whole society and the prosperity of the country.
China and the world – the world and China: A transcultural perspective
9783946114499
national stereotypes; imperial China; late Qing; European populations; historiography; Karl F. A. Gützlaff; SDUKC
02 Pubblicazione su volume::02a Capitolo o Articolo
Early protestant historiography and the travel of some European “National Characters” to China: Karl F. A. Gützlaff’s Gujin wanguo gangjian 古今萬國綱鑑 (1838) / Casalin, Federica. - (2019), pp. 23-38.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1312870
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