Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland: Manchus, Manchoukuo, and Manchuria, 1907-1985
440pp. August 2011
Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland: Manchus, Manchoukuo, and Manchuria, 1907-1985
Author: Shao Dan;
Remote Homeland, Recovered Borderland addresses a long-ignored issue in the existing studies of community construction: How does the past failure of an ethnic people to maintain sovereignty over their homeland influence their contemporary reconfigurations of ethnic and national identities? To answer this question, Shao Dan focuses on the Manzus, the second largest non-Han group in contemporary China, whose cultural and historical ancestors, the Manchus, ruled China from 1644 to 1912. Based on deep and rigorous empirical research, Shao analyzes the major forces responsible for the transformation of Manchu identity from the ruling group of the Qing empire to the minority of minorities in China today: the de-territorialization and provincialization of Manchuria in the late Qing, the remaking of national borders and ethnic boundaries during the Sino-Japanese contestation over Manchuria, and the power of the state to re-categorize borderland populations and ascribe ethnic identity in post-Qing republican states.

Within the first half of the twentieth century, four regimes—the Qing empire under the Manchu royal clan, the Republic of China under the Nationalist Party, Manchuokuo under the Japanese Kanto Army, and the People’s Republic of China under the Communist Party—each grouped the Manchus into different ethnic and national categories while re-positioning Manchuria itself on their political maps in accordance with their differing definitions of statehood. During periods of state succession, Manchuria was transformed from the Manchu homeland in the Qing dynasty to an East Asian borderland in the early twentieth century, before becoming China’s territory recovered from the Japanese empire. As the transformation of territoriality took place, the hard boundaries of the Manchu community were reconfigured, its ways of self-identification reformed, and the space for its identity representations redefined.

Taking the borderland approach, Remote Homeland goes beyond the single-country focus and looks instead at regional and cross-border perspectives. It is a study of China, but one that transcends traditional historiographies. As such, it will be of interest to scholars of modern China, Japanese empire, and Northeast Asian history, as well as to those engaged in the study of borderlands, ethnic identity, nationalism, and imperialism.

20 illus., 5 maps
The World of East Asia Series
"Shao’s book is a welcome addition to the field of Manchurian studies in that it provides new materials and offers a comprehensive look at the Manchus’ experience in the twentieth century amidst rapid state succession and social changes. Her book is especially satisfactory for readers who seek an insider view of the Manchus instead of Han Chinese or Japanese views. . . . Shao’s book is a success in itself and is commendable for its high quality research and writing. It has made significant contributions not only to Manchurian studies but also to ethnological and borderland studies." –Asian Studies Review

“Shao is to be commended for producing a book of such conceptual and empirical sophistication. It is the most significant book to have come out on Manchuria for some time, as well as a uniquely comprehensive statement on race, ethnicity and territory in twentieth-century China.” —Pacific Affairs (86:1, March 2013)

“An outstanding reference volume replete with provocative case studies and newly discovered materials begging further analysis for scholars and graduate students that cannot be overlooked in a new body of recent scholarship on northeast China and Manchukuo.” —H-Net Reviews (October 2012)

“A compelling and much needed history of the Manchus in the twentieth century.” —Frontiers of History in China (7:2, June 2012)

“This is a valuable study of a little known and important subject. The author analyzes the changes in ethnic identity of the peoples of Manchuria during the early twentieth century, focusing on the way that external interventions and political changes reconfigured classifications of this territory and its inhabitants. Using abundant primary source materials and judicious reference to leading theorists of nationalism and ethnicity, the author makes an important contribution to studies of ethnicity, imperialism, national identity, and state formation in Modern China.” —Rana Mitter, Institute for Chinese Studies, University of Oxford
Author: Shao Dan;
Shao Dan is assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Read the Introduction (PDF).

Part I: Remote Homeland, Lost Empire
1 Remote Homeland, Contested Borderland: The Qing Empire, Banner People, and Manchuria 
2 Between Empire and Nation: The 1911 Revolution, Manchus, and Manchuria

Part II: Contested Borderland, Redefined Identity
3 Legitimizing Statehood, Revising History: Manchoukuo between Japan and the RoC  
4 Ethnic Harmony, Colonial Reality: Manchus, Manchoukuo, and the RoC
5 Historicizing the Manchus, Deterritorializing Manchuria: Ethnology and Borderland Studies in the RoC 
6 Redefining the Manzu, Remapping Ethnic Autonomy: State and Scholars in the PRC 

Part III: Experiencing Borderlands, Re-understanding Homeland 
7 A Trial of Treason: Aisin Gioro Xianyu and Identity Dilemma 
8 Tales of Two Empires: The Conquerors, the Colonized, and the Heroes