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

September 26, 2022 @ 4:00 pm 6:00 pm

Speaker: Tian Yuan Tan 陳靝沅: Shaw Professor of Chinese, University of Oxford

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-cultural literary interactions. He is currently working on “Linking the Textual Worlds of Chinese Court Theater, ca. 1600-1800” (TEXTCOURT), a research project funded by the European Research Council.  

This event takes place in person and via Zoom.


September 26, 2022
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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