Antonella Diana reports on Empire at the Margins: Culture, Ethnicity, and Frontier in Early Modern China, edited by Pamela Kyle Crossley, Helen F. Siu and Donald S. Sutton: “This is an outstanding ethnographic history of the construction of cultural, local and ethnic identities at the frontiers of the Chinese Empire in the early modern period. This unconventional combination of historical analysis and anthropological method convincingly dismantles the common center-periphery dichotomy. The various case studies in the book provide a fairer picture of the relation between the Empire and its subjects by disclosing the intricacies of the social dynamics at the margins in active dialogue with the center. For its theoretical and ethnographic acumen, Empire at the Margins will become a classic work to be read by those seeking a grounded understanding of identity formation not only during the imperial period but also in contemporary China.”

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