Events

China Humanities Seminar – Writing and Reading “Local Court Drama” in Late Imperial China: Texts, Genres, and Identities 

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Tian Yuan Tan 陳靝沅: Shaw Professor of Chinese, University of Oxford; Professorial Fellow, University College

Recent reprint projects have given researchers much improved access to the vast corpus of Chinese court dramatic texts kept in palace archives and private collections, which in turn presents a challenge: how do we unpack the complex textual web and varied forms contained therein? I am interested in ways of reading court drama in connection with the wider textual and cultural worlds. This talk will focus on a body of texts that I call “local court drama” - playtexts that were presented to the emperor from across various regions, produced on occasions ranging from the celebration of imperial birthdays to welcoming the sovereign on tours. We will look at the textual problems and the generic labels applied, literary models invoked, and identities represented in the process. 
 
Tian Yuan Tan 陳靝沅 is the Shaw Professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow of University College. His main areas of research include Chinese literary history and historiography, text and performance, and cross-cultura

China Humanities Seminar Featuring Jeffrey Riegel – Further Reflections on an ‘Unmoved Heart’: Mengzi 2A2 Revisited

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Jeffrey Riegel, University of California Berkeley, Emeritus Mengzi 2A2 consists of Master Meng’s answers to questions put to him by a follower named Gongsun Chou. The first few of these replies relate to bu dong xin, “unmoved heart,”—i.e., mental quietude and equanimity in the face of humiliation or disappointment as well as excitement or […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Lu Kuo – The Temporary Recluse: The Discourse of Not Working in Early Medieval Chinese Poetry

Presented via Zoom

Speaker: Lu Kou, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University For imperial officials, “work” – fulfilling duties in the office, traveling for business, or managing lawsuits, taxation, or infrastructure – was a common subject matter for poetic treatment. Yet meanwhile, they also wrote prolifically about “not working,” which encompassed both permanent withdrawal […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Anne Feng – Water Transformation: Buddhist Meditation and Pure Land Art in Tang China

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Anne N. Feng, Assistant Professor of Chinese Art, Boston University This paper investigates the relationship between Buddhist meditation and images in medieval China by reconsidering the development of Pure Land transformation tableaux in Dunhuang caves. Working against previous studies that treat the Sixteen Meditations as a linear step-by-step sequence in which the meditator focuses […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Xin Wen – Curating a Museum of Stones: The “Forest of Stelae” (Beilin) and the Politics of the Past in Middle Period China

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Read our blog post on the event: What a Museum of Tang Stones Says About How China Views its Past Speaker: Xin Wen, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and History, Princeton University Chang’an, the capital of the Tang dynasty (618–907), was the largest city in the medieval world. The walled area of the city […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Nicholas Standaert – The Chinese Gazette in European Sources: Joining the Global Public in the Early Qing Dynasty

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Nicolas Standaert, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) The Chinese gazette as a publicly available government publication was distributed in a variety of formats since the twelfth century. Little is known, however, about its form and content before 1800. By looking at European sources, this presentation shows how they offer a unique way of expanding the […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Meimei Zhang – Immortalizing the Ephemeral: Qin Inscriptions from the Song Dynasty (960-1279)

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Meimei Zhang, Occidental College This paper examines the Song dynasty literati’s ming 銘 inscriptions on the qin 琴, a seven-string plucked instrument that is also known as zither or guqin. The tradition of inscribing musical instruments can be traced back to bronze bells and chime stones in the Shang and Zhou dynasties, which bore pithy messages primarily functioning as historiographical and musicological records. From […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Charles Hartman – Structures of Governance in Song Dynasty China

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Charles Hartman, University at Albany, Emeritus This lecture will introduce my recent book, Structures of Governance in Song Dynasty China 960-1279 CE (Cambridge, 2023). Together with its historiographical prelude, The Making of Song Dynasty History: Sources and Narratives (Cambridge, 2021), Structures of Governance seeks to go beyond the static organizational charts of the official […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Cheng-hua Wang – What Handscroll Landscape Painting Could Convey: Format, Structure, and the Discourse on Huayi in the Late Northern Song Dynasty

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Cheng-hua Wang, Associate Professor, Princeton University Focusing on landscape paintings in the handscroll format from the tenth to the twelfth century, this talk aims to present two structural innovations that took place in the late eleventh century seen in a few examples—from homogeneous to heterogeneous spaces and from mono to poly-scenic views. Along with […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Soojung Han – Forging a New Sino-Inner Asian Order: The Brotherly Relations Between the Shatuo Turks and Kitans (907–979)

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Soojung Han, Assistant Professor of History, Southwestern University Following the collapse of the Tang dynasty and before the rise of the Song dynasty, the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979) is known to have been one of the most chaotic periods in Chinese history. In this lecture, I explore the relations between China […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Xiaoqiao Ling – Rethinking Early Huaben Stories: Miscellanies and Literary Ecologies

Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave. 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Xiaoqiao Ling, Associate Professor of Chinese, Arizona State University This paper investigates ways in which the proximity of texts in literary environments complicate our understanding of invention and creation in the late Ming narrative tradition. Early vernacular short stories (huaben) are typically dismissed as haphazard patchworks of disparate textual segments. Pioneering scholars such as […]

China Humanities Seminar featuring Michelle Wang – Terrestrial Diagrams in Early China

CGIS South, Room S050 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Speaker: Michelle H. Wang, Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities, Reed College In The Art of Terrestrial Diagrams in Early China (University of Chicago Press, 2023), Michelle H. Wang explores the diagrammatic tradition of rendering space in early China. The book centers on maps (ditu) excavated from three tombs that date from the fourth […]