Organized Panel Session
While scholars of Qing China have endeavored to show how the Qing Empire (1644-1911) laid claim to its territory, it remains little researched as to how an ordinary individual viewed and experienced the same space. Focused on the experience of the on-the-ground travelers, this paper examines the ordinary experience of traveling to the frontiers in the eighteenth century, particularly to the frontier of Manchuria. Why did people travel to Manchuria and how was the travel experience? Drawing upon travel diaries, local gazetteers, and legal documents, this paper studies cases of those who traveled for the economic allures of the specialty goods such as ginseng and fur, or career opportunities such as travel industries and commodity dealers, or scenic appeal such as the unseen natural view. With conveniences as well as difficulties about means of communication, the newly incorporated regions—remote yet not foreign—became places for the inland residents of Qing China to explore possibilities unavailable at their native places and thus recreate their identities in the frontiers.