266 China Review International: Vol. 16, No. 2, 2009 particularly supported as it is by such a wealth of local detail, would extend all its arguments to the furthest points. However, some fairly obvious venues of development seem neglected. Shin's discussion of literati explorations of Guangxi cultural and economic life, and their discovery that the official dichotomies were untenable in the face of the complexity of local adaptation, has a very strong parallel in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century literati descriptions of the borders with the Mongols and the Jurchens. Shin frequently invokes an apparent contrast between Ming treatment of the northern borders and of the southwestern border, without acknowledging this actual similarity. Though Shin is consistent in suggesting that telling how the state became the state and telling how China became Chinese amount to the same story, his particular reasoning is not always elucidated. The practices of incorporation and accommodation, linked to an unfolding state agenda for taxonomizing both central and border cultures, are powerful tools for understanding not only the Ming approach to the southwest generally, but the Qing approach to Guangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, and Qinghai among others. Doubtlessly, they are connected to the maturation of
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 31, 2009
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