Imperial Bandits: Outlaws and Rebels in the China-Vietnam Borderlands (Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies)

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9780295999685: Imperial Bandits: Outlaws and Rebels in the China-Vietnam Borderlands (Critical Dialogues in Southeast Asian Studies)

The Black Flags raided their way from southern China into northern Vietnam, competing during the second half of the nineteenth century against other armed migrants and uplands communities for the control of commerce, specifically opium, and natural resources, such as copper. At the edges of three empires (the Qing empire in China, the Vietnamese empire governed by the Nguyen dynasty, and, eventually, French Colonial Vietnam), the Black Flags and their rivals sustained networks of power and dominance through the framework of political regimes. This lively history demonstrates the plasticity of borderlines, the limits of imposed boundaries, and the flexible division between apolitical banditry and political rebellion in the borderlands of China and Vietnam.

Imperial Bandits contributes to the ongoing reassessment of borderland areas as frontiers for state expansion, showing that, as a setting for many forms of human activity, borderlands continue to exist well after the establishment of formal boundaries.

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From the Author:

Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, this book tells the story of migrants and communities in the borderlands. From southern China, the Black Flags raided their way into northern Vietnam. In the second half of the nineteenth century, they competed against other armed migrants and uplands communities for control of borderlands commerce and natural resources. At the edges of three empires, (the Qing Empire in China, the Vietnamese Empire governed by the Nguyen Dynasty, and, eventually, French colonial Vietnam), the Black Flags and their rivals sustained networks of power and dominance through the framework of political regimes. The history of these imperial bandits and the communities that resisted them demonstrates the plasticity of borderlines, the limits of imposed boundaries, and the flexible division between apolitical banditry and political rebellion in the borderlands of China and Vietnam.

About the Author:

Bradley Camp Davis is assistant professor of history at Eastern Connecticut State University.

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