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Saints for Shamans? Culture, Religion and Borderland Politics in Amuria from the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries

Loretta E. Kim 金由美
Central Asiatic Journal
Vol. 56 (2012/2013), pp. 169-202
Published by: Harrassowitz Verlag
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.13173/centasiaj.56.2013.0169
Page Count: 34
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Saints for Shamans? Culture, Religion and Borderland Politics in Amuria from the
Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries
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Abstract

This article examines how the Qing state imagined the political incursion of Russian culture in the Amur River basin, a disputed borderland with the Russian empire. The Qing administration was apprehensive about signs that the indigenes of this area were embracing Russian material customs, and that these people would be more open to Russian control. Conversion to Russian Orthodoxy, despite a relative lack of missionary activity, and thus submission to foreign religious authorities, were also regarded as a threat. Such concerns were seen as detrimental to the Qing and as strengthening St Petersburg's claim over the Amur. Such anxieties were expressed both in the folk culture of the Amur River indigenes (Orochen, Dagur) as well as in official Qing documents. This article will also seek to contextualize the Amur civilisations in a broader debate involving Orthodox faith, “Russian culture” and cultural imperialism.

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