Ross Moncrieff

BA, MPhil
Examination Fellow since 2022

My research focuses on early modern British understandings of China from the late-seventeenth to the late-eighteenth century, aiming to reassess to what extent this period saw a growing hostility towards China amongst British intellectuals (what is sometimes called a shift from 'Sinophilia' to 'Sinophobia'). By examining a wide range of areas of early modern British knowledge about China, including Chinese philosophy, ethnography and chronology, I aim to challenge the idea that the late-eighteenth century was a moment of radical discontinuity in British attitudes towards China. I am particularly interested in how a reassessment of this period’s conceptions of China might change our understandings of the context for the 1793 Macartney embassy to the Qianlong emperor, as well as the importance of early British sinology for debates surrounding the Enlightenment and Orientalism in eighteenth-century Britain. More broadly, I am interested in comparative intellectual history, particularly with regards to early modern China and Europe.