China's Encounters on the South and Southwest. Reforging the Fiery Frontier Over Two Millennia discusses the mountainous territory between lowland China and Southeast Asia, what we term the Dong world, and varied encounters by China with this world's many elements. The essays describe such encounters over the past two millennia and note various asymmetric relations that have resulted therefrom. Local populations, indigenous chiefs, state officials, and rulers have all acted to shape this frontier, especially after the Mongol incursions of the thirteenth century drastically shifted it. This process has moved from the alliances of the Dong world to the indirect rule of the Tusi (native official) age to the Qing and recent Gaitu Guiliu efforts at direct rule by the state, placing regular officials in charge there. The essays detail the complexities of this frontier through time, space, and personality, particularly in those instances, as today on land and sea, when China elects to pursue an aggressive policy in this direction.
Contributors include: Brantly Womack, Kenneth MacLean, Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, Bradley Davis, Jaymin Kim, Alexander Ong, Joseph Dennis, Sun Laichen, John K. Whitmore, Kathlene Baldanza, Kenneth M. Swope, Michael Brose, James A. Anderson, Liam Kelley, and Catherine Churchman.
John K. Whitmore, Ph.D. (1968), Cornell University, has taught at Yale University, the University of Michigan, and UCLA and has published articles on the histories of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. His most recent project has been Sources of Vietnamese Tradition (2012).
James A. Anderson, Ph.D. (1999), University of Washington, is an Associate Professor in the History Department at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His most recent book is the co-edited volume The Tongking Gulf Through History (2011).
"This collection is the product of the expertise of the authors, who offer an up-to-date overview of the theories and sources in their respective fields of research. In this regard, the volume provides a valuable new contribution to scholarly debate. An important merit is presenting a great variety of primary sources, Chinese and non-Chinese, many of which offer original material for the study of hese issues. The combined usage of primary documents together with non-textual materials adds value to certain papers in the book, and is a direction that should be pursued in future studies on thetopic. The papers are very well interconnected, theories and ideas flow and recur across sections of the book, and the contributors often refer to each other's work. This gives the positive impression of a lively and ongoing discussion among the authors."
– Francesca Fiaschetti, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Asian Highlands Perspectives 40.
"As with any compendium of research, this volume is multi-layered since its contributors address particular aspects or case studies to elucidate cultural specifics of China’s borderland history, but they also place them into a larger context of political history. Without a doubt, the value of this collection is in the details of events that highlight nuances while avoiding generalizations and oversimplifications. Nevertheless, details of the political activity of the Dong world remained marginal in the chronicles produced by lowland states like China and Vietnam. The subject of the borderland only came to light during revolts, skirmishes or violations. The contributors of this volume successfully extracted and analyzed records concerning highland peoples, who have no written history of their own. Though fragmentary, their history is preserved in the words of state officials."
– Ekaterina Zavidovskaya, National Tsinghua University, Taiwan, in NewBooks [published online, 7 June 2016]
Those interested in Chinese and Southeast Asian frontier history and the local and state agents acting on this mountainous territory.