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

Pages 169 - 202


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.


香港浸會大學 Hong Kong Baptist University

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