Monthly Archives: November 2022

[Review] 李尹蒂《晚清农学的兴起与困境》(Li Yindi: The Rise and Dilemma of Agricultural Science in Late Qing Dynasty)

Li Yindi 李尹蒂, Wan Qing nongxue de xingqi yu kunjing 晚清农学的兴起与困境 (The Rise and Dilemma of Agricultural Science in Late Qing Dynasty), Beijing: Kexue Chubanshe 科学出版社, 2021. ISBN 978-7-03-069998-5, 241 pages, 98 RMB.

Reviewed by Jörg H. Hüsemann (Universität Leipzig)

A series of crises made the 19th and early 20th centuries a turning point in Chinese history. Imperialist powers violently forced the empire to open its markets to the opium trade, the millenarian Taiping rebellion devastated large parts of southern and central China, millions died during the North China Famine of the 1870s, and the ruling house suffered humiliating military defeats in the Sino-Japanese War and the Boxer Rebellion, to name but the most infamous catastrophic events. While these crises challenged the Qing rulers’ claim to power and shook the political and social structures, they also created room for the development of new ideas. Scholars and state officials tried to promote “Self-Strengthening” to protect imperial rule from external attacks and internal strife. Against this historical background, the actors discussed in Li Yindi’s monograph introduced their approaches to modernizing Chinese agriculture.

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