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Department of History

Frontier China: Migrants, Nomads, and Borderland Nobodies

Regions Covered: 
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Historical Central Eurasia

There is a rich China, a beautiful China. And there is a China that is anything but: poor, marginal, and hardscrabble. In our minds, a Great Wall separates the two. High civilization, productivity, and the state lie on one side, crude lawlessness lies on the other. Yet, throughout Chinese history, ordinary people straddled the line between heartland and frontier: settlers, immigrants, merchants, missionaries, runaways, and nomads. What, then, did the Great Wall represent? What dynamics defined the historical relations between settled and mobile communities in China?

Course Code: 
When Taught: 
Fall 2013
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