Seven previously published but long out-of-print essays, and one new essay, explore traditional and modern manufacturing in Ming and Qing China and its relationship to the government
Albert Feuerwerker fashioned a distinguished legacy as a scholar of Chinese history. His publications on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Chinese economy often became the starting point for any further work and staples for graduate training in modern Chinese history. Studies in the Economic History of Late Imperial China gathers seven foundational writings in one place for the first time, and adds one new piece on handicrafts in the sixteenth century to the list. Included is Feuerwerker’s “Handicraft and Manufactured Cotton Textils in China, 1871–1910,” which immediately after its publication in 1970 became the standard for research and argument about economic change in the late Qing. In this classic essay, Feuerwerker addresses the scarcity of quantitative data on the textiles industry in this time period, which prevented historians from interpreting qualitative sources. Along with a descriptive analysis, he presents several quantitative alternatives and weighs them to find which best protrays the fortunes of cotton textile handicrafts during the last four centuries of the Qing. Taken together, the chapters in Studies in the Economic History represent a cross-section of the enormous contributions Feuerwerker made to China scholarship.
Albert Feuerwerker was a historian of modern China and a longtime faculty member of the University of Michigan, where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Center for Chinese Studies.