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Jody Weinstein

Adjunct Professor of History at The College of New Jersey
April 13, 2015

Jodi Weinstein (PhD 2007, History), adjunct professor of history at The College of New Jersey, has published her first bookEmpire and Identity in Guizhou: Local Resistance to Qing Expansion (University of Washington Press), in the Studies on Ethnic Groups in China series.

The book, based on her 2007 dissertation supervised by Beatrice Bartlett, incorporates Qing archival materials, indigenous folk narratives, and ethnographic research.

In the book, Weinstein analyzes the Qing imperial authorities’ attempts to consolidate control over the Zhongjia in 18th-century Guizhou, a poor, remote, and environmentally harsh province in Southwest China. The Zhongjia, a Tai-speaking people known today as the Bouyei minority nationality, did not submit peaceably to the state's quest for hegemony, but clung to activities such as robbery, raiding, and banditry that had played an integral role in their cultural and economic survival. In 1797, these activities found full expression in an armed uprising. Weinstein's book provides the first Western-language account of this rebellion, known as the Nanlong Uprising. In a 2014 review for The Journal of Asian Studies, Laura Hostetler wrote, “Empire and Identity in Guizhou makes an important contribution to the literature on Qing frontier policy and ethnicity. The author’s close attention to the documentary record contributes both to our understanding of imperial and local dynamics and to the specific circumstances of Guizhou Province.”

Weinstein first began studying the Chinese language as an undergraduate at Oberlin College, where she majored in East Asian Studies and History. As a PhD student at Yale, she chose to study China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing, because of the richness and depth of the primary sources. Her work on the book began in 1998, with her search for a dissertation topic. While browsing the stacks in Sterling Memorial Library, she happened upon a collection of documents about the Nanlong Uprising, and she was immediately fascinated. Her quest to understand the causes of the rebellion led to more than fifteen years of research on the language, culture, and religion of a region seldom studied by scholars inside or outside China.  

Weinstein did most of her research at the First Historical Archives of China, a building on the grounds of the Forbidden City in Beijing. She also worked in several other archival facilities and libraries in China and spent several weeks exploring the regions of Guizhou, where the book takes place. 

Weinstein teaches Chinese history and lives in Skillman, NJ, with her husband Rob Barrish, and their baby daughter, Sarah. Her future research projects include additional work on ethnicity and social unrest in late imperial China.