The Awkward Position of Missionaries in Chinese History
A Special Online Talk and Discussion
Date: Thursday, March 26th
Time: 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Plague? Disaster? Sorcery? Rumors? Geopolitics?
You’re invited to join history teacher and The Hutong’s history guy Jeremiah Jenne for a special online talk about missionaries, medicine, witchcraft, and the Tianjin Massacre of 1870. We’ll be using zoom and all registrants will be sent the meeting information and link by email before the meeting.
From the time of Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit missions of the 16th century, missionaries have played an important role in Chinese history. By the 19th century, the missionary promised both new forms of educational and hygienic modernity while also being seen by the people as a possible threat to the established order in this world and beyond. How did the people of late imperial China perceive missionaries?
In 1870, tales of kidnapping and sorcery swirled around the city of Tianjin. The local magistrate wants to investigate the charges of witchcraft being made against a group of Catholic nuns. The French consul insists the missionaries are protected from prosecution by treaties signed with the Chinese government. In the middle is a hapless Manchu official unable to keep the peace. On June 21, 1870, the city of Tianjin exploded into a day of rage and violence which shocked the world and revealed the perilous position of missionaries in 19th century China.
Jeremiah Jenne is a writer and history teacher based in Beijing since 2002. He taught Late Imperial and Modern Chinese History for over 13 years and has written extensively on China for The Economist, South China Morning Post, Journal of Asian Studies, Asia Society/China File, Los Angeles Review of Books, Radii China, The Beijinger, and the World of Chinese. His work can be found in the anthologies China in 2008: A Year of Great Significance, The Insider’s Guide to Beijing, and the 2015 collection While We’re Here: China Stories from a Writer’s Colony. Jeremiah is frequently asked to speak or lead workshops on Chinese history, culture, and cultural adaptation for students, embassies, organizations, and company groups from around the world and is the proprietor of Beijing by Foot, which organizes educational programs and historic walking tours of Beijing’s most famous sites and hidden by-ways. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremiahjenne or online at jeremiahjenne.com.