Zhao Dingxin, "The Rise of the Confucian-Legalist State and the Pattern of China's Past"


Friday, February 11, 2011, 12:15pm

Dingxin Zhao, University of Chicago

Focusing on the Spring and Autumn Warring States era (770-221 BC), Professor Zhao argues that frequent and inconclusive wars among feudal states during that era facilitated quick social development, including the rise of a monetary economy, bureaucracy, and philosophies. However, without strong checks from societal forces, the dynamism was harnessed by state power and led to the rise of a unified legalist state (Qin), whose brutality brought its quick demise. The subsequent rise of a Confucian state with its rule legitimized by Confucianism and supported by Confucian scholars fused political power and ideological power, marginalized economic and military power, and patterned the entire history of imperial China.

Dingxin Zhao is professor of sociology at the University of Chicago. His research concerns social movements, nationalism, historical sociology, and economic development. His interests also extend to sociological theory and methodology. He has published an award-winning book titled Power of Tiananmen (2001) and two books in Chinese: Social and Political Movements (2006) and Eastern Zhou Warfare and the Rise of the Confucian-Legalist State (2006). He is working on a project which examines, in comparison with the European experience, the precocious rise of China’s bureaucracy around the seventh century BCE, unification in 221 BCE, the emergence of a Confucian state around 140 BCE, and the pattern of the Chinese past in the last two millenniums.

Location: CGIS South, Room S153
1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA
Contact: lkluz@fas.harvard.edu