The Class of 1761

The Class of 1761

Examinations, State, and Elites in Eighteenth-century China

eBook - 2004
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The Class of 1761 reveals the workings of China's imperial examination system from the unique perspective of a single graduating class. The author follows the students' struggles in negotiating the examination system along with bureaucratic intrigue and intellectual conflict, as well as their careers across the Empireto the battlefields of imperial expansion in Annam and Tibet, the archives where the glories of the empire were compiled, and back to the chambers where they in turn became examiners for the next generation of aspirants.

The book explores the rigors and flexibilities of the examination system as it disciplined men for political life and shows how the system legitimated both the Manchu throne and the majority non-Manchu elite. In the system's intricately articulated networks, we discern the stability of the Qing empire and the fault lines that would grow to destabilize it.

A rich and engaging study of one graduating class of the imperial examination system of eighteenth-century China.

Book News
Though the civil service examination system was not the only avenue into Confucian elite membership, it remained strong until the late imperial period, and the educated elite continued to be dedicated to acquiring examination status. Man-Cheong (history, State U. of New York-Stony Brook) investigates why. He concludes that the system helped produce and reproduce a unitary centralized state, disciplined candidates to become servants of the state, and elaborated a collective identity that evolved into modern Chinese nationality. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2004
ISBN: 9781417580477
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 298 pages)


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