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Event details

PhD Final Presentation

Amherst Embassy to the Jiaqing Court 1816

Caroline Stevenson

10:00am - 11:00am
10 Oct 2017
Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

Sunrise on the Grand Canal of China by William Havell (Reading 1782 - London 1857)

Compared with the earlier Macartney embassy to the Qianlong court in 1793, the Amherst embassy to the Jiaqing emperor in 1816 has been under researched. In this seminar Caroline presents some of her findings from her PhD thesis on this topic.

Focus falls on the embassy’s return route overland from Beijing to Guangzhou.  British encounters with high ranking mandarins and ordinary Chinese are discussed revealing the state of knowledge these people held of the British and England.  The embassy travelled down the Yangtze River to the Poyang Lake and into the lower parts of the Yangtze Delta not previously visited by Englishmen. Their reactions to the cities, country side and people of China were important for defining British perceptions of China in the period leading to the First Opium War of 1839-42.

About the speaker

Caroline Stevenson is researching Anglo-Chinese relations during the ‘Canton Trade’ period and is working on the Amherst Embassy to the Jiaqing Emperor in 1816. After graduating in 1967 she taught in the Humanities Department at RMIT before accompanying her husband on diplomatic postings. These included Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Travelling widely throughout Malaysia and Thailand, Caroline developed an interest in the early Chinese export trade in ceramics to South East Asia. She attended courses on the archaeology of the Malay Peninsular at the University of Malaya and presented papers on Chinese export wares to study groups affiliated with the National Museum in Bangkok. On return to Australia Caroline commenced a Masters Degree (Anthropology) at ANU on Malay royal ritual in the early colonial period but this was suspended due to a posting to Washington DC. Recently returning to ANU through the Master of Studies programme, Caroline has taken the opportunity to pursue a PhD at the Australian Centre on China in the World in her primary area of interest of maritime trade with China.

Updated:  16 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, China in the World /Page Contact:  China in the World