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

November 13, 2023 @ 4:00 pm 6:00 pm

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 and Inner Asia in the tenth century. Specifically, I examine the diplomacy between the Shatuo Turks, who established three out of the Five Dynasties and one of the Ten Kingdoms, and Kitan Liao, the nomadic superpower to the north. Through analyzing and comparing the tributary rhetoric in records documented by both parties, I argue that a relationship of parity between the Middle Kingdom and the Kitans under tianxia (all-under-heaven) should be considered to have started during the rule of Later Tang (923–937), one of the Shatuo Turkic dynasties. The brotherly relationship established between the Shatuo Turkic and Kitan rulers, which in part can be attributed to their nomadic origins, paved the way for a relationship between equals under tianxia. More crucially, this relationship reshaped the Sino-Inner Asian world for centuries in which Inner Asian nomads could lay claim and rule over China.

Soojung Han is an assistant professor of History at Southwestern University. She is a historian of medieval China and Inner Asia whose main field of research is the relations between China and Inner Asia during the Middle Period, with particular emphasis on gender, ethnicity, and identity. Her current book project proposes that the diplomatic relations and identity formation of the 10th century marked a watershed in Chinese history which reshaped the Sino-Inner Asian world. She received her PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University in 2022. This coming year, her works will be published in Ethnic Terminologies in Eurasian Perspective in the Visions of Community (VISCOM) series.

Also via Zoom.
Register at: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUoc-2urzwiGNwQpkQcMrQiFzwU5UWsJYll


November 13, 2023
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave.

2 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 United States

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