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Project Details
Funding Scheme : General Research Fund
Project Number : 745712
Project Title(English) : Publishing China: The First American Missionaries to China and Their Faith in the Printing Press 
Project Title(Chinese) : 第一次到中國的美國傳教士和他們的信仰在印刷機 
Principal Investigator(English) : Prof Johnson , Kendall Albert 
Principal Investigator(Chinese) :  
Department : School of English
Institution : The University of Hong Kong
E-mail Address : kjohnson@hku.hk 
Tel : 39172007 
Co - Investigator(s) :
Panel : Humanities, Social Sciences
Subject Area : Humanities and Arts
Exercise Year : 2012 / 13
Fund Approved : 217,338
Project Status : Completed
Completion Date : 31-10-2015
Project Objectives :
To apply literary historical analysis to the publications produced by the first American missionaries to China in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s in order to assess the influence of these missionaries on the subsequent development of United States print culture, early US-China relations (cultural, diplomatic, economic), and the disciplinary study of China in the United States.
To highlight the crucial historical significance of the first American missionaries whose knowledge of the Chinese language and work on *The Chinese Repository* enabled their central involvement as translators in diplomatic proceedings between China and the United States during the two Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion.
To develop historical analysis of these missionaries' impact on American national development through analysis of print culture that appreciates the denominational styles (Baptist, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, etc.) of Christian belief and missionary activity.
To consider the assumptions that the missionaries had about race and gender as they pursued their goals of printing and preaching in Canton while trying to reach out beyond the Hong factories to the population beyond.
To interpret descriptions of the collaboration between the American missionaries and the Chinese converts such as Liang Ah-fa and Liang Ateh, who were crucial to the missionary projects and played a significant role through their proselytizing and dissemination of tracts in inspiring the Taiping Rebellion.
To orient the printing of *The Chinese Repository* and the other print endeavors (dictionaries, commercial almanacs) in relation to the British foundations of China-based and Malacca-based printing by Robert Morrison, William Milne, and Samuel Dyer, who were vital collaborators in the early stages of the Americans’ efforts.
To redefine the early-national public sphere in the United States (pre-Civil War) by conceptualizing the global and national audiences for the *The Chinese Repository*; to revise understandings of the early-American print culture and the dynamics of its putative “imagined community” (viz. B. Anderson) by appreciating the role of American missionaries whose various senses of faith motivated them to try to control of the general economy of their print publication in global contexts based in Guangdong.
Abstract as per original application
(English/Chinese):
In the early 1830s, the first missionaries from the United States arrived in Canton (Guangzhou), China. Elijah Bridgman and Samuel Wells Williams spent the next twenty years publishing an astounding number of books, pamphlets, and the monthly journal *The Chinese Repository* (1832-1851). Inspired by the example of British missionaries, these Americans chronicled their times, including the First Opium War (1839-42), the ensuing revolutionary energies in China, and the rise of the United States to international respectability as a China trading partner. As the Canton Trade system fell apart with the opening of other treaty ports after the Treaty of Nanjing (1842), Bridgman and Williams progressively shut down their Canton operations and moved to Shanghai. Nevertheless, their Canton printing endeavors had pushed the boundaries of print technology in ways that shape the study of United States and China to this day. *Publishing China* produces articles, conference papers, and the first scholarly monograph on the Guangdong-based printing activities of these first American Missionaries in China. I pay literary historical attention to the practices of material print culture and their textual representation in order to describe and interpret the early nineteenth-century history of the cultural, economic and political relations between China and the United States. While considering the general system of their publication enterprise, I will focus critical attention on William’s massively influential ethnographic and historical overview of China *The Middle Kingdom* (printed significantly in an original and revised edition, 1848; 1883) and on the remarkable *The Chinese Repository*. Ambitiously global in their scope, the missionaries were motivated to print by convictions of Christian faith. The carnage of opium war and revolutionary violence tested both their evangelical designs and their faith in the power of the press to a point of exhaustion and near failure. As Bridgman and Williams imagined audiences for their texts in China and won Chinese converts such as Liang Ah-fa to aid them in their work, they express ambivalent opinions the Chinese people. Furthermore, the spirit of romantic heroism behind their publication network depended on a model of evangelical masculinity. The writings by Eliza Bridgman (Elijah Bridgman’s wife) and Henrietta Shuck (the first woman missionary to China) provide perspectives that challenge the systems of labor upon which Bridgman and William depended and highlight the ways in which printing technologies and history fold into each other at every turn.
在19世紀30年代初,從美國抵達廣東(廣州),中國第一位傳教士。以利亞布里奇曼和三畏了未來20年,一個驚人的數字出版的書籍,小冊子和60頁的月刊,中國信息庫(1832年至1851年)。靈感來自英國傳教士的例子,這些美國人記載了他們的時間,其中包括第一次鴉片戰爭(1839-42),隨之而來的革命能在中國,甚至美國的崛​​起,作為中國貿易夥伴的國際體面。他們成為有影響力的翻譯和外交官參與了至關重要的條約的談判。威廉姆斯成為了第一位教授在耶魯大學的中國研究在188?廣州貿易體系土崩瓦解與中國其他通商口岸的開放,布里奇曼和威廉姆斯關閉其廣,搬到了上海。然而,廣東印刷的方式塑造研究美國和中國這一天的努力已經推動了印刷技術的界限。 該項目生產的第一本學術專著的廣州印刷動盪的幾十年,從19世紀30年代到19世紀60年代的第一個美國傳教士在中國的活動。我的研究將考慮一系列的出版物,包括威廉的大量有影響力的人種學和歷史概述中國的古村(1848年,1883年),印刷兩個版本的顯著。然而,重點將是顯著的中國存儲庫,它提供了一個無與倫比的窗口,中國和美國在一個特別重大的時代,每個民族的歷史文化,經濟和政治關係的早期歷史。 真正意義上的全球範圍內,這些印刷企業的動機是基督教信仰的信念,進行了測試,革命暴力和戰爭的大屠殺,面對即將耗盡的地步。布里奇曼和威廉姆斯由於中國在過去幾十年想像的觀眾,他們似乎在屈尊俯就和殖民時代,而在其他時間不知所措和困惑。此外,他們的故事的中國叢報帶來了重要的困境有關如何穩定美國的問題,並就如何適當定義一個公共領域,致力於向西擴張在早期的美國,但在內戰的邊緣。 最後,浪漫背後的假設這些傳教士的出版物網絡依賴模型上的陽剛之氣,最終還是沒能辜負了刺耳的英雄主義的浪漫標準。的書面伊麗莎·布里奇曼(以利亞布里奇曼的妻子合作者)和Henrietta的是彈簧的第一個女人傳教士向中國提供的觀點,挑戰了系統的勞動賴以布里奇曼的和威廉的浪漫的印花依賴,和突出的方式中,印刷技術和歷史折疊成對方一動不動。
Realisation of objectives: All of the objectives were realised. In fact, this research opened up a very productive perspective on related events in law, diplomacy, and commercial cultures. The resulting publications (including a book monograph and articles) applied literary historical analysis to the output of the first American missionaries to China in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s. This opened up a perspective on commerce and diplomacy that happened in China with consequences for the United States. Because the missionaries were translators and interpreters who also published the monthly journal *The Chinese Repository,* they are deeply insightful in regard to any significance that the Opium Wars and Taiping Rebellion holds for understanding the political, economic, and cultural development of the US. The publications tracked the ways ideologies related to race and gender permeated their practice of printing and preaching in Canton, China, and South and Southeast Asia.
Summary of objectives addressed:
Objectives Addressed Percentage achieved
1.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
2.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
3.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
4.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
5.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
6.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
7.Continue to pursue original objective.Yes100%
Research Outcome
Major findings and research outcome: The publications and lectures result from research that draws from a richly descriptive cross-cultural archive. The publications present key moments in early relations among the twenty-first century’s superpowers through memoirs, biographies, epistolary journals, magazines, book reviews, fiction and poetry by Melville, Twain, Whitman, and others, travel narratives, and treaties, as well as maps and engraved illustrations. Paying close attention to figurative language, generic forms, and social dynamics of print cultural production and circulation, I have shown how authors, editors, and printers appealed to multiple overlapping audiences in China, the United States, and throughout the world. The major findings have inspired substantial 4-star publications, which include: 1. The scholarly monograph *The New Middle Kingdom: China in the Early American Romance of Free Trade* (Johns Hopkins University Press, in press, Spring 2017; 150,000 words, 400+ pages) puts US merchants, missionaries, and diplomats at the center of the first century of US cultural development from the Revolutionary War until the first decades after the US Civil War. It reconfigures cultural history to develop a global context for understanding the interrelated developments of American commerce, evangelism, foreign policy, law, and literature in regard to China. 2. “Henry James and the China Trade” (2014) is an article in the top-tier (Q1) journal Modern Fiction Studies (Johns Hopkins University Press). Henry James is not usually read as having much to do with China or transpacific commerce. However, his writing reflects a sustained awareness of the early nineteenth-century China trade’s effect on the visual and cultural landscape of New England where the first American millionaires deposited fortunes amassed in a world system of commerce. References to the China Trade resonate in James’s intensely visual literary style through which he verbally sketches social landscapes that convey an aura of national culture. These social landscapes eventually register his deep alienation in regard to the moral implication of American fortunes. 3-“Reading for Contexts of American Orientalism from the Far East to the Far West.” American Literary History (ALH, with Oxford University Press) 25.3 (Fall 2013): 638-649 is a journal article that encourages more substantial engagement with US missionaries to China as a way of developing the under appreciated impact of the China trade on early US cultural development. Furthermore, there are a couple more articles under review at top journals, including “The Holy Wars and Sacred Fonts of the Mission Press in South China: Printing Mongolian in the Chinese Repository" with American Quarterly.
Potential for further development of the research
and the proposed course of action:
There is great potential for further development. I am currently working on a follow-up project related to the impact of US extraterritoriality in China on post-Civil War America. This book will follow on the *The New Middle Kingdom* and trace the fascinating stories of US diplomats who were also literary writers and prominent politicians in the US before heading to China after the Second Opium War. My new MPhil student will be writing her thesis on one of these: Anson Burlingame. Furthermore, I have several parallel projects related to the global circuitry of newsprint related to the First Opium War; this December I will go to London as an invited participant of a roundtable related to opium being held by King's College London.
Layman's Summary of
Completion Report:
When US missionaries arrived to China, their fellow citizens imagined the Middle Kingdom as the wealthiest empire in the world. Its geographical distance did not deter commercial aspirations—rather, it inspired them. Starting in the late eighteenth century, merchants from New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Salem, Newport, and elsewhere cast speculative lines to China. The resulting fortunes shaped the cultural foundation of the early republic and funded westward frontier expansion. The publications from this GRF argue that—for the merchant princes who speculated in the global Far East, as well as the missionaries and diplomats who followed them—Manifest Destiny spurred more than the coalescence of the fractious regions into the continental Far West. It also promised a golden gateway to the Pacific Ocean through which the nation would realize its historical destiny as the world’s new Middle Kingdom of commerce. Examining the influential accounts of westerners at the center of early US cultural development abroad, Johnson conceives a romance of free trade with China as a quest narrative of national accomplishment in a global marketplace. Spanning a full century, from the post-Revolutionary War era to the Gilded Age, The New Middle Kingdom highlights the importance of China in antebellum US culture.
Research Output
Peer-reviewed journal publication(s)
arising directly from this research project :
(* denotes the corresponding author)
Year of
Publication
Author(s) Title and Journal/Book
2013 Kendall JOHNSON  "Reading for Contexts of American Orientalism from the Far East to the Far West," American Literary History (ALH) 25.3 (Fall 2013): 638-659. 
2014 Kendall JOHNSON  "Henry James and the China Trade," Modern Fiction Studies, 60.4 (Winter 2014): 677-710 
2017 Kendall A. Johnson  The New Middle Kingdom: China in the Early American Romance of Free Trade 
Recognized international conference(s)
in which paper(s) related to this research
project was/were delivered :
Month/Year/City Title Conference Name
March/2014/Philadelphia 'Such a Sight You Never Saw": Harriett Low's Picturesque Language and the Romance of the Opium Trade," Rethinking Opium and the Opium War, 1800-1900,  Association for Asian Studies, Annual Conference 
November/2014/Hong Kong Printing Faith in China: Plotting the Canton Press onto the "American Renaissance  The 10th Anniversary of the American Studies Network (USCET-ASN) Annual Conference: Transnational Currents of US-China Relations 
Seattle/April/2013 Free Trade and the Messianic Legacies of Protestant American Printing in Nineteenth-Century China  Association for Asian American Studies 
December/2012/Beijing “Samuel Wells Williams, Printer"  An International Symposium in Memory of S. W. Williams: Relations between East Asia and the United States in the 19th Century December 14-18, 2012, Beijing Foreign Studies University’s Research Center of Overseas Sinology 
March/ 2016/ Seattle "Picturing the Extraterritorial Graveyard: The Visual Aesthetics of Free Trade Imperialism in Commodore Perry’s Narrative of the Expedition (1856)"  Association for Asian Studies 
May/2016/2016 "Once Upon a Time in 1784: National Biography and the American Quest for Free Trade in China"  China and Global Modernity, 1784-1919 at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China 
December/2014/Macao Caleb Cushing in the Context of Nineteenth-century American Print Culture: Reviewing Extraterritoriality in the Treaty of Wangxia  International Symposium on the Relations between Macao and the United States in the Global Perspective 
December/2015/ Guangzhou "Sacred Fonts and the American Revival of the Silk Road: Printing Mongolian in the Chinese Repository"  International Symposium of Macao, Hong Kong and 'Silk Road on the Sea' in Global Perspective 
September/2016/Hong Kong "Manifesting Extraterritoriality in China: Caleb Cushing's Revolutionary Commerce and the United Republics of Christendom"  China’s Identity in International Law, East Asian International Economic Law & Policy Program and the Asian Institute of International Financial Law 
May/2016/Hong Kong "Thomas De Quincey, Free Trade, and the Anxious Evangelism of Extraterritorial Printing: Revising President John Quincy Adams's "Lecture on the War with China" (1841) for The Chinese Repository"  International Symposium on The Victorians and the Democratic Imagination, School of English at the University of Hong Kong 
April/2016/Hong Kong "Legacies of Ginseng and the Continental Drifts of Early National Commerce,"  Propaganda, Persuasion, the Press and the American Revolution, 1763-1783," Thomas Jefferson Foundation / American Studies at the University of Hong Kong 
Other impact
(e.g. award of patents or prizes,
collaboration with other research institutions,
technology transfer, etc.):
There are additional ways that the GRF translates into scholarly impact that does not produce a discrete research publication but has enduring and substantial qualitative effects. First, this research has complemented my ongoing relationship with the Fulbright Scholar Program. As Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures (SMLC) and member of the American Studies Program, I help host a visiting professor each year and support a research conference in line with the visiting fellow's interests. My work through this GRF has enabled me to work with visiting professors such as John R. Haddad, Haiming Lui, Monica Chiu, Scott Laderman, George Wang, and Grace Wang. Second, this research on the history of US missionary printers in China has motivated me to participate in the broader media landscape of Hong Kong regarding US politics. In my appearances on RTHK Radio3 and PearlTV, I try to lend a historical perspective on US politics for Hong Kong audiences. My research into the early years of western media in China has enabled me to formulate a transnational perspective on the way that political views travel across the oceans and get reinterpreted to fit different social contexts. Over previous three years I have been on the radio about twenty times and on television twice.

  SCREEN ID: SCRRM00542