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Reading: Benevolence for Obedience: Policies on Muslims in Late Imperial and Modern China

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Benevolence for Obedience: Policies on Muslims in Late Imperial and Modern China

Author:

James D. Frankel

University of Hawai’i at Manoa
About James D.
James Frankel is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Hawai’I at Manoa. A specialist of the history of Islam in China, his scholarly work emphasizes the comparative history of ideas and religious as well as cultural syncretism. He is currently working on the revision of a manuscript Borrowing from Confucius to Obey Muhammad: Chinese Islamic Practice and Doctrine. The book considers Chinese Islamic scholarship and literature of the early Qing dynasty, specifically the writings of Chinese Muslim literatus Liu Zhi.
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Abstract

In telling the story of Islam in China, scholars have tended to depict the historical encounter of China’s Muslim population with the social, political and cultural forces of Chinese state and society in terms of either “conflict or concord.” This generalization, which reduces a complex and nuanced history to a simple binary, is flawed not because it is completely untrue, but rather because its truth is incomplete. Chinese Muslims’ responses to the social and cultural context in which they live have been diverse and multifaceted, and the phenomenon of Islam in China is no more a monolith than either of the two great, multifaceted civilizations that lend it its name. In late imperial China, within the same century, albeit at different ends of the Empire, examples of both types of Muslim response to Chinese hegemony were witnessed: intellectual rapprochement and armed rebellion. In between those extremes, however, we see varying degrees of Muslim assimilation to the norms of Chinese society and a variety of positions adopted by the imperium and officialdom vis-à-vis the Empire’s Muslim subjects. In many ways, this pattern is repeated in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) today.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.221
How to Cite: Frankel, J.D., (2009). Benevolence for Obedience: Policies on Muslims in Late Imperial and Modern China. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts. 16(2), pp.25–42. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.221
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Published on 01 Apr 2009.
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