Vol. 10:2 (2021) ► pp.260–277
When Qing Law Encountered British Anthropology
George Jamieson’s Translation of “Exogamy” and “Endogamy” in the Qing Code
This article conducts a textual and reception analysis of George Jamieson’s translation of Qing marriage law with the aim of probing a translational encounter between traditional Chinese law and British anthropology. Approaching a Qing clause against marriage between persons of the same family name as an object of anthropological study, Jamieson annotated his rendition with rich paratexts to orient it under the concept of exogamy. After reflecting upon predecessors’ theories, he advanced his own by restructuring existing anthropological constructs. Taking his translation as a knowledge source, Jamieson further highlighted the existence of an endogamous limit upon the exogamy rule; this observation was absorbed by Henry Maine to strengthen his argument that exogamy and endogamy were not oppositional in agnatic societies. As revealed in Jamieson’s interaction with British anthropologists, he proved himself more than a translator of Qing marriage law but also a contributor to nineteenth-century British anthropology.
- An examination of nineteenth-century anthropology
- Testing existing anthropological theories with Chinese “exogamy”
- Jamieson’s own theory on the origin of the clause
- Jamieson’s influence on nineteenth-century anthropology