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The Art of Being Governed
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Table of Contents

Illustrations xi Dramatis Familiae xiii Introduction A Father Loses Three Sons to the Army: Everyday Politics in Ming China 1 PART I IN THE VILLAGE 1 A Younger Brother Inherits a Windfall: Conscription, Military Service, and Family Strategies 25 2 A Family Reunion Silences a Bully: New Social Relations between Soldiers and Their Kin 64 PART II IN THE GUARD 3 An Officer in Cahoots with Pirates: Coastal Garrisons and Maritime Smuggling 83 4 An Officer Founds a School: New Social Relations in the Guards 109 PART III IN THE MILITARY COLONY 5 A Soldier Curses a Clerk: Regulatory Arbitrage Strategies in the Military Colonies 131 6 A Temple with Two Gods: Managing Social Relations between Soldier-Farmers and Local Civilians 159 PART IV AFTER THE MING 7 A God Becomes an Ancestor: Post-Ming Legacies of the Military System 191 Conclusion 215 Acknowledgments 239 Glossary 241 Notes 245 Bibliography 269 Illustration Sources 291 Index 293

About the Author

Michael Szonyi is professor of Chinese history and director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University. His books include Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China and Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Front Line.

Reviews

"The Art of Being Governed will best be appreciated by an academic readership interested in Chinese and comparative history. The scholarship is deep and wide, the argumentation is convincing, and the writing clear and readily understood."---John W. Dardess, Canadian Journal of History
"One of Choice Reviews' Outstanding Academic Titles of 2018"
"This astute and powerful blend of micro- and macrohistory pursued over the longue dur e explores how resistance infuses apparent compliance. The magnifying lens of this book focuses on conscription throughout the Ming Dynasty, but the intellectual quarry is nothing less than the illumination of the strategic maneuvering between subject and state."--James C. Scott, Yale University
"This is state-of-the-art Sinology: a work that combines the old-school erudition needed to sift through thousands of pages of documents and decipher obscure stele, with the ability to sit down and talk to people in a remote part of China, listen to their stories, and triangulate this oral history with the written record. Szonyi gives us not only an absorbing new take on Ming military history, but also a parable for how the Chinese have dealt with the state for centuries--through negotiation."--Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Souls of China
"In this pioneering book on military service during the Ming dynasty, Szonyi opens a window on life during imperial China, revealing a fascinating world where families creatively bent the government's rules in order to survive. This ground-up view of how the Chinese coped constitutes an enormously significant and relevant contribution to the field."--John Pomfret, author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom
"
The Art of Being Governed
looks at the relationship between the military households of southeastern China and the Ming state, with an emphasis on how individuals negotiated their obligations to the government. With a brilliant use of sources, this illuminating book links the past to the present in creative ways and is one of the most sophisticated and vivid descriptions of social relations in late imperial China published in recent years."--Peter C. Perdue, Yale University
"This ambitious book probes the ways in which military households engaged the state. Szonyi shows how people registered in these households used their status to take advantage of differing regulatory schemes in Ming China, and how these efforts shaped social relations, politics, and culture--in some cases even down to the present. Based on extensive fieldwork, primary sources, and engaging scholarship, this is a major contribution to the field."--Joe Dennis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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