Fairbank Center: Rules Regulation, Responsibility and Merchant Organizations in Qing Chongqing


Thursday, October 9, 2014, 12:15pm


CGIS South, Room S153, 1730 Cambridge St.

Rules, Regulation, Responsibility, and Merchant Organizations in Qing Chongqing: A Revisionist History of the "Chinese Guild"
Maura Dykstra

Maura Dykstra will argue the last century of studies on Chinese merchant organizations is founded upon misleading assumptions about the relationships between merchants, the local state, market institutions, and commercial dispute resolution in eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century China.              

She will show what has been presumed to be a basic division between the legal or political domain of the state and the social or market sphere of the merchant organization was, in fact and practice, not two realms but instead a spectrum of interlocking institutions purposefully designed to administer the late imperial market in ways that have not yet been recognized in the scholarship. Dykstra will conclude with a series of observations about how this proposed approach to the history of Chinese law and economy offers new perspective on an array of related issues.

Maura Dykstra is a 2014-2015 An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Her research interests are the history of development, law, economy, and late imperial China. Dykstra has a PhD in history from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently revising her dissertation­—a history of commercial disputes in Chongqing from 1770 to 1911—for publication. Her next research project is a history of commercial disputes in Chongqing from 1911 to 1955.