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DHAsia Presents | Digital Perspectives on Imperial Chinese Political History, by Hilde De Weerdt

In twelfth-century Song China governmental control over current information circulated orally, in manuscript, and print became stricter.
At the same time, the private and commercial publication of state documents, court news, and recent history grew exponentially. The former aspect, censorship, has received much attention in Chinese Studies. I propose that both aspects, secrecy and publicity, need to be understood together. I will reflect on the causes for central and local governments’ ambivalent stance towards the circulation of archival materials and current affairs and their longer-term consequences on imperial Chinese political culture.
I argue, in part on the basis of digital analyses of notebooks and letters, that the paradigmatic shift towards localism amongst political elites in the twelfth century was accompanied by a structural transformation in political communication between court and provincial elites.
This transformation was characterized by the dissemination of shared political imaginaries based on territorial claims and the consolidation of the position of the literati or cultural elites as the main producers and consumers of history and current affairs texts. Special consideration will be given to the question of how we can trace and analyze communication networks and political networking and their role in the history of Chinese empires.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Although focused on the Chinese case, the analytical approaches examined here are valuable for scholars working across Asia, on all time periods.

Details

When:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016. 04:15 PM

Where:

CESTA, Wallenberg Hall, 4th Floor

Sponsor:

Wallenberg Hall, Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), History Department, Program in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Center for East Asian Studies, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Contact:

650-721-1385
tsmullaney@stanford.edu

Admission:

NO REGISTRATION REQUIRED | OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | IN ADDITION TO SPONSORS LISTED TO THE RIGHT, THIS TALK IS ALSO SUPPORTED BY THE STANFORD HUMANITIES CENTER WORKSHOP "Techniques of Mediation"