Dr. Mårten Söderblom Saarela received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. His research is centered on the cultural and intellectual history of language in late imperial China. Söderblom Saarela’s dissertation and first research project focused on the Manchu language, particularly its script’s influence on language studies in Qing China (1644–1911). The Manchu language and its script was nothing like Chinese, but it was used in the Qing empire—of which China was part—as the language of the ruling house and parts of the hereditary military elite until the early twentieth century. His second research project focuses on the history of Mandarin Chinese: Manchu’s partner, antagonist, and successor as the language of power.

Söderblom Saarela’s forthcoming book that will mark the conclusion of his first project considers how Manchu was developed as a written language by the early Qing rulers and subsequently studied or discussed by individuals in China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Germany, and France. The book argues that Manchu, which thus far has primarily been studied within the context of the expanding Qing Empire’s imperial and military institutions, is also a topic for cultural and intellectual history both inside and outside China. At both ends of Eurasia, the study of Manchu was not just contemporaneous, it was connected. In the writing of textbooks, compilation of dictionaries, and printing, Manchu emerges as intimately related to the globalization of the early modern world.

Söderblom Saarela was appointed as Assistant Research Fellow of the Institute of Modern History in January, 2019.

For more information about his research, please refer to the following website: http://www.mh.sinica.edu.tw/MHWeb/UserDetail.aspx?userID=733&mid=16&tmid=2