Hans van Ess, "The Death of Sima Qian and the Sequence of Some Chapters in Shiji and in Hanshu"


Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 4:30pm

The Death of Sima Qian and the Sequence of Some Chapters in Shiji and in Hanshu
Hans van Ess

Professor van Ess will explore Chinese historiography of the first century BC. Investigations in this field to date have mainly been concerned with historical facts, with only rudimentary studies of the principles and motives that led to the composition of the major works of Chinese history writing. In cooperation with participants from the next generation of young scholars, Professor van Ess will examine individual chapters from the Book of Han (Hanshu), a dynastic history from the first century BC. He will primarily focus on an investigation of ideological aspects, with the aim of identifying the intentions of the author Ban Gu (32 – 92 n. Chr.) in compiling the work.

Hans van Ess is vice president of the University of Munich and holds the Wolfgang Bauer Distinguished Chair of Sinology. He has long taken a meticulous analytic and philological interest in the evolution of Chinese historiography, particularly of the Han dynasty. His recent publications include: Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen. China (The 101 Most Important Questions: China) (2008), Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig: Verlag der Weltreligionen (2009), and Der Daoismus. Von Laozi bis heute (Taoism: From Laozi to Today) (2011).

Location: Common Room, 2 Divinity Avenue, Harvard University