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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/4369

Title: Your beggarly commerce! Enlightenment European views of the China trade
Authors: Millar, Ashley Eva
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Citation: Ashley Eva Millar, "Your beggarly commerce! Enlightenment European views of the China trade", in Guido Abbattista (edited by), Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture, pp. 205-222.
Abstract: This article studies the European confrontation with and conceptualization of the China trade in the early-modern world, and in particular during the Enlightenment. International trade was of central importance to Enlightenment European conceptions of wealth and European intellectuals and a broader audience of popular authors, merchants and interested parties hotly debated international trade policies. In these debates, China was largely portrayed as having a more cautious, restricted approach to foreign trade. This contrast between the optimism for trade and rejection from the Chinese led to a consistent expression of frustration in many European sources. The narrative of Chinese isolation, however, should not be removed from the wider context of eighteenth-century views on the China trade. Recent scholarship has questioned the dominance of the idea of an isolated Chinese state. Revisiting eighteenth-century sources in light of these new perspectives, it is clear that early-modern European discussion of the China trade reflected a wider variety of views than simple frustration with Chinese restrictions on trade. The paper concludes that the narrative of China’s isolation should be seen as only one part of a wider picture of the China trade and eighteenth -century observers were very much aware of the complex dynamics involved in the China trade.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/4369
ISBN: 978-88-8303-306-3
Appears in Collections:Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture

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