Islam in China has often been analysed in stark terms, with Muslims seen either as rebels against the state or as elite Confucian scholars. Though Islam has been practised in China for over a millennium, it is often still discussed as a foreign import.
In this talk, which is based on his second book-length project, Tristan Brown argues that Muslims found ways to appeal to critical nodes of imperial power during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Mosques were routinely financially supported by officials across the empire. Muslims engaged in rainmaking rituals endorsed by the imperial state. The tombs of Sufi saints secured examination success for localities. Islamic butchery was incorporated into the imperial cult.
This talk aims to revise our understanding of Islam’s relationship to imperial politics and society and to illuminate the place of Islam in China today.
Tristan Brown is currently a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. He is a historian of late imperial China, with interests in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.