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Anthony DeBlasi – The Anomaly of Tang Zhongzong 唐中宗 (r. 684 and 705-710) and the Dynamics of Tang History
September 30, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Speaker: Anthony DeBlasi, University at Albany, State University of New York
Most accounts of the life and reigns of the Tang emperor Zhongzong have portrayed him as an addendum to the careers of his more illustrious relatives, his mother the Empress Wu Zetian 武則天 and his nephew Tang Xuanzong 唐玄宗, seeing him as merely an emblem of a toxic court culture that characterized the turn of the eighth century. On closer examination, however, his career and his legacy tell us much about the long-term dynamics underlying Tang history and the way government bureaucrats made sense of that history. This talk analyzes court initiatives during Zhongzong’s time on the throne as well as posthumous debates about his historical significance to highlight these dynamics.