ABSTRACT

Referencestohui-widelytranslatedas"secretsociety"--proliferateineighteenth-andnineteenth-centuryChinesesources,afactthatuntilrecentlyhas beenexplainedintwocomplementaryways.Republican-periodChinesehistoriansarguedthatsecretsocietiesemergedintheearlyQingaspopular"nationalistic"protestsagainstthealienManchuregime,anticipatingSunYat-sen's republicanrevolutionbysometwocenturies(Luo1943;Murray1993,ch.4;Tao 1943;Xiao1935).Afewdecadeslater,Westernhistoriansinspiredbytheradicalizationofscholarshipinthe1960sand1970srewrotethehistoryofsecret societies,addingtheirownMarxianconvictionsthatsecretsociety"rebels"were consciousorunconsciousrevolutionariesaswell,respondingtocrisesofimmiserationandsocialinjustice(Chesneaux1972;Davis1977;Murray1993,ch. 3).Thefirstwaveofhistorianswrotesecretsocietiesintothehistoryofthe RepublicanRevolutionof1911;thesecondwavewrotesecretsocietiesintothe CommunistRevolutionof1949.Thischapterseekstowritesecretsocietiesinto thehistoryofearlymodemChina,arguingthatmost"secretsocieties"arebetter understoodasassociationscreatedbyyoungmenwhofoundthemselvesatthe marginsofsettledsociety.