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Contents and Summaries No.4 November 2022
February 27, 2023  

Contents and Summaries

No. 4

November, 2022

Recent Academic Concerns of Professor Steven Gunn, University of Oxford

Steven Gunn and JI Zhe

British Aristocracy and Environmental Protection in the 19thCentury

ZHAO Sian LIU Jinghua

Abstract:With the process of industrialization and urbanization, the environmental pollution in Britain in the 19th century became increasingly serious, and both nobles and civilians could not escape the suffering of environmental pollution. For multiple motives, the aristocracy led, promoted and even personally participated in the environmental protection movement in many ways: as victims, they took judicial proceedings against the companies for compensation and protected their own interests; as pure environmentalists, they paid attention to people, animals, plants and buildings which were victims of pollution; as members of the ruling class, they tried to ease social contradictions and maintain the ruling order by improving the environment. The aristocracy still had great political and economic power, but obviously inferior to their ancestors, and they also faced the challenge of the emerging middle class, so they hoped to enhance their social reputation and make up their declining influence by leading environmental protection actions.

The Origin and Transition of Copyholders in England

WANG Yuantian

Abstract:After the Norman Conquest, the identity of majority peasants changed continuously in Medieval England. From the 12th to 16th century, their collective identity changed several times: villagers, villein tenants, copyholders, and finally developed towards leaseholders in the following period. The transition of collective identity was based on the transition of individual identity. However, due to the regional differences in the degree of land marketization and social-economic development, the transition of peasants' individual identity was not synchronous. Even in the same region, the transition of peasants' collective identity was not carried out one round after another, but a new round of transition had begun before the completion of last one. The transition of the identity of majority peasants importantly reflected the level of social-economic development in England. Reshaping this transition process can reveal the complexity of medieval land marketization progress at the micro level, which will help us better understand the macro trends of social-economic development at that time.

A Review of George C. Homans’ Research on Rural History in Medieval England

WANG Chaohua

Abstract:The research on rural history in medieval England is an extremely important part of the academic career of the American sociologist George Homans. In this area, Homans not only focused on the land system, but also extended his vision to the corresponding family structure, inheritance system, festival life and discussed the influence of customs on villagers' behaviors. On this basis, Homans initially proposed three elements of social behavior, such as sentiment, interaction and activity, which laid the foundation for his subsequent research on small social groups and the construction of social exchange theory. His concern for the villagers and their individual consciousness, as well as his interpretation of the exchange relationship between lords and villagers, still has some vitality today. Homans' academic style and research path of the interconnection between sociology and history have important enlightenment significance.

Peaceful Development on the Basis of Exclusive Sovereignty–The Settlement of the Svalbard Dispute and Its Enlightenment

LIU Jinyuan and YANG Yicheng

Abstract:Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Circle. At the end of the 19th century, European countries disputed over the sovereignty and development rights over the islands. Through consultations and negotiations, the Svalbard Treaty was signed in the year 1920. The treaty made it clear that the sovereignty of the islands belonged to Norway, but at the same time ensured other parties equal access and development rights to the islands, creating a “Svalbard Model” that separated territorial sovereignty from development rights. The “Svalbard Model” contained a new interpretation of the concept of territorial sovereignty, promoted a peaceful settlement of island disputes, and provided a solid guarantee for regional peace and the development of island resources, thus maximizing the common interests of all parties and providing a useful historical reference for the resolution of current complex island disputes.

An Analysis of the Rural Socio-Economic Recovery of the Byzantine IsaurianDynasty– Also a Discussion of the “Dark Age”

LI Jirong and XU Jialing

Abstract:As an empire based on agriculture, the rise and decline of the rural socio-economy determined the strength of the Byzantine empire. In the 6th and 7th centuries, due to internal and external troubles, the rural socio-economy suffered heavy losses, handicraft and commerce became increasingly depressed, and military defeats were frequent, and the empire was on the verge of extinction. After the reform of the “θέμα” was implemented in the 7th century, the peasant-soldier class was formed, the ranks of small peasants were expanded, and the agricultural production labor force became increasingly abundant. After the establishment of the Isaurian Dynasty in 717, the official promulgation and revision of the Ecloga, Soldier's Law and Farmer's Law, clarified the rights and obligations of peasants and soldiers, the order and norms of agricultural production, ensured the socio-economic recovery of rural production, and then promoted the development of handicrafts and commerce. Therefore, military reform and agricultural legislation laid the foundation for the empire to emerge from military crisis and achieve revival, and confirmed some scholars thought that the Isaurian dynasty was a “Dark Age” was not credible.

Ethnic Integration and Social Change in the Jiulong River Basin During theTang and Song Dynasties

XIE Chongguang

Abstract:During the Tang and Song Dynasties, the main groups active in the Jiulong River Basin were the Han people who migrated south from the Central Plains, the ethnic group of Liao descended from the Baiyue people, and the ethnic group of Panhu who migrated from Hunan. The three groups of people contacted, communicated, struggled, integrated, and finally formed the Zhangzhou people, a branch of the hoklo people. Chen Yuanguang, a representative of the Han people who migrated south, took a series of measures to promote ethnic integration in Zhangzhou. He first promoted the Han people to integrate with the descendants of the Baiyue people in the Jiulong River Basin, and after the Panhu people moved into this area, he made them integrate with the Han people and the descendants of the Baiyue people respectively. In the progress of ethnic integration, regional economic and social development had also made great progress.

House Tax of Shanghai Municipal Council in Modern Times

LI Dongpeng

Abstract:The house tax levied by Shanghai Municipal Council in modern times, was a direct tax which took the collection model of British property tax in the mid-19th century, and adjusted at a certain rate to the local situation of Shanghai. The Municipal Council was established in 1854, and in the year of its establishment, it imposed the house tax on the assessment of the house rent, and its collection process adhered to the principles of marketization and the rule of law, its decision-making procedure was scientific, its collection mechanism was standardized, and its implementation was in simple ways to deal with complex things. The house tax was the largest item of revenue of the Municipal Council, which obtained a large amount of funds through the collection of house tax to maintain its own operation, and carried out systematic urban governance, which improved the civilization of urban management in Shanghai International Settlement. The house tax of the Municipal Council had lasted for nearly 100 years, which had a demonstration effect on the construction of the house tax system in Shanghai and other cities in China. In addition, Shanghai citizens paid the house tax for a long time, and gradually formed the consciousness of taxpayers' rights, which had an important impact on the Chinese protest movement that emerged in the later period.

The Beiyang Government and Yunnan’s Domestic Debts

BI Xuejin

Abstract:Due to the remoteness and poverty, the fiscal revenue of Yunnan Province during the Beiyang government was insufficient. In order to cope with financial difficulties, the provincial government issued a total of 17 million yuan' government bonds such as the Suiliang bond, the Huguo bond, the Jingguo bond, etc., and borrowed nearly 90 million yuan through the additional issue of paper money by Fudian Bank. The huge amount of domestic debts triggered changes in the political situation between the central and local. In the early period of the Beiyang government, the central government strictly controlled domestic debts. In order to enhance governing, the central government controlled local financial power through the way of “requestion for funds”. However, the central's financial resources had always been insufficient, and Yunnan Province had repeatedly requested for funds, but to no avail. After issuing the Jingguo military bond, Yunnan Province quickly used it to expand and strengthen its army. After that, without the approval of the central government, Yunnan Province issued a number of bonds, including provincial treasury bills, and also borrowed a large amount of money from Fudian Bank to fund military supplies. This strengthened the Yunnan military force led by Tang Jiyao and became the important capital to fight against the central government. Yunnan might not be an exception. For expanding armaments and extending borders, issue of bonds and paper money were prevailing in local provinces. This may be an important reason for the further discrete between local and central government.

A New Starting Point of Children’s History Research–A Review of NicholasOrme’s Medieval Children

TAO Wanyong


Institute of European Civilazation