RGGA and RGTGM talk by David Porter

Friday, March 18, 2022 15:00to16:30

Early Modern Service Elites: The Qing Banner System and Its Eurasian Counterparts

The Eight Banners, the Qing (1636-1912) empire's hereditary military/administrative elite, are often defined by their connection to Manchu identity. But by conceiving of the people of the banners instead as a multi-ethnic "service elite" whose position was based on an exchange of service to the ruling dynasty for institutionalized privilege, we can see clear institutional similarities to other ruling elites in early modern Eurasia. The creation of service elites, whether the Qing banners, the Japanese samurai, the Russian service nobility, or the Ottoman janissaries, enabled Eurasian dynasties of the 15th-19th centuries to engage in substantial state expansion and bureaucratization, while maintaining the loyalty of their core supporters.

Bio: David Porter is faculty lecturer in the departments of History and Classical Studies and East Asian Studies at McGill. He specializes in the history of the Qing dynasty, and the use of Manchu language materials. His current book project is tentatively titled: "Slaves of the Emperor: The Qing Eight Banners as Service Elite."

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