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Title: Botanical journeys and China's colonial frontiers, 1840-1940
Author: Mather, Jeff
ISNI:       0000 0004 2668 9088
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2009
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Over recent years, a body of scholarship has emerged on the topic of European and American travel writing in China. This thesis contributes to this growing field by examining four writers who travelled in China and worked as plant collectors and botanists. Largely forgotten today, these writers were influential and successful in their own day. Despite differences in geographical location and historical period, there are a number of common links that make a comparison of these travel writings productive. As travellers seeking botanical rarity and novelty, these writers explored regions of China unknown in the West, which over a period of one hundred years expanded outwards from the fringes of the treaty port areas to more remote regions of China's southwest. These writers, therefore, were on the frontiers of Western knowledge of China, and an examination of their writing provides important insights into the ways in which racial, geographical, and ecological differences were articulated and understood in the context of colonial and scientific exploration. While discussing how such differences have imperial significance, this study will also call attention to the instability of colonialist discourse in the context of China. Rather than focus exclusively on questions of imperialism, this study will show how representations of China's periphery regions also speak to metropolitan literary and cultural concerns, and a close reading of these travel writings shows that China offered powerful imaginary landscapes for home audiences. This project is organised chronologically and the chapters are divided according to the authors, with the exception of the first chapter where I introduce the historical and theoretical framework of the study and the final concluding chapter where I consider the significance of this study in the context of modern China.
Supervisor: Edmond, Roderick S. ; Landry, Donna Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: P Language and Literature