“[Getting published] required years of research, translation, writing, and rewriting—lots of rewriting,”
Adjunct Professor Jodi Weinstein laughs. In her hands she holds her book, Empire and Identity in Guizhou: Local Resistance to Qing Expansion. Published this September by the University of Washington Press, Weinstein’s book represents 15 years of research on the Zhongjia peoples of southwestern China, and their fight against the Qing Empire.
Weinstein’s work began in 1998, with her search for a PhD dissertation topic. “I knew that I wanted to work on southwest China during the Qing period, but I hadn’t settled on an exact topic.” said Weinstein. “While browsing the library stacks, I stumbled upon a collection of documents about a Zhongjia rebellion in Guizhou that lasted from 1796 to 1797. I hadn’t heard of the rebellion, and I was immediately fascinated.”
Weinstein’s discovery set off a 15-year journey researching the fascinating Zhongjia peoples of Guizhou and their fight against government control.
“Before the 1720s, the Zhongjia enjoyed relative autonomy from the imperial state, but in the 1720s, the Yongzheng emperor—the third emperor of the Qing dynasty—decided to impose greater control over their communities,” Weinstein explained. “Local residents weren’t happy with increased government oversight, and found ways to preserve their traditional practices. Sometimes this involved bending the law in small ways; sometimes it involved minor uprisings or full-scale rebellion like the one in 1797.”
Weinstein’s research culminated in her dissertation in 2007 and finally in her book. “I began revising the dissertation for publication in late 2009 and submitted it to the University of Washington Press in 2010. After they sent me feedback, I spent another year revising. It was a long and difficult process, but ultimately a very rewarding one.”
A process that she is ready to begin again, as she’s working on a second book exploring Chinese communities in Singapore.
“I’m just really grateful to the faculty here for all of their support,” she said. “And my students also helped a lot. Our class discussions help me understand what undergraduates want to read. I tried to make Chinese history, especially history about such a small and remote region a bit more accessible to them. I’m honored and proud that I could do it while working here at TCNJ.”