Empire, Settlement and Dynastic Change in the 17th Century Chinese and British Worlds: Narratives of the Future in The Dominion of New England and Zheng-era Taiwan.

Jack Moloney

History Department, University of Melbourne

In the last years of the rule of the Stuart dynasty, the British Crown sought to establish a new pattern of political organisation in its colonial territories in North America, the Dominion of New England, a structure largely remembered in narratives of American history for the resistance which it provoked and for its abolition, along with the end of Stuart rule,  in 1688.  Just before the Dominion of New England was established, the Qing Dynasty defeated the purportedly Ming loyalist regime of the Zheng family in Taiwan, incorporating Taiwan into the administrative territory of Chinese mainland empire for the first time in history.

This paper will compare how scholars have conceived of the role of the future in shaping these two these two polities – the Dominion of New England and Zheng Taiwan – shaped by the politics of dynastic change and by processes of settlement and imperial expansion. It will explore how the stories of these two displaced political entities have been imagined in terms of the republican revolutionary futures with which they were subsequently associated and how “pre-modern” or “traditional” political commitments such as dynastic loyalty have been elided in the ways in which historians have represented these polities.


Jack Moloney is a tutor and assistant lecturer in the History Department at the University of Melbourne. He is completing a doctorate on the history of the Dominion of New England, and is broadly interested in the history of 17th century empire and its antecedents and successors.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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