Theses Doctoral

Governing Imperial Borders: Insights from the Study of the Implementation of Law in Qing Xinjiang

Tian, Huan

This research examines, through a detailed analysis of the way in which laws were implemented, the changing strategies that the Qing Empire employed to govern Xinjiang from 1759, when this area was annexed into the empire, to 1911, when the Qing dynasty collapsed.

Focusing on the changes in the applicability of the two legal systems--Qing state law and indigenous Islamic law--in the criminal and the civil domains respectively, as well as the dynamic of the Qing legal policies, the dissertation studies the Qing's state building project in a multi-ethnic context from the legal perspective. Different from many historians studying European expansion, who argue that law was an important tool of forced acculturation, my research on Xinjiang shows that the Qing rulers managed to integrated this area without full acculturation.

The story this dissertation is telling is one of the creation of Xinjiang as a province over time, though one that still holds an ambiguous status as an autonomous region even to today. It is against this background that the dissertation looks at how the two vast legal systems collided in China's northwestern frontier, and how the area's indigenous inhabitants and immigrants used the law to advance and defend their own interests.


  • thumnail for Tian_columbia_0054D_10567.pdf Tian_columbia_0054D_10567.pdf application/pdf 1.82 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Zelin, Madeleine H.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 17, 2012