Ideology of Power and Power of Ideology in Early China explores ancient Chinese political thought during the centuries surrounding the formation of the empire in 221 BCE. The individual chapters examine the ideology and practices of legitimation, views of rulership, conceptualizations of ruler-minister relations, economic thought, and the bureaucratic administration of commoners.
The contributors analyze the formation of power relations from various angles, ranging from artistic expression to religious ideas, political rhetoric, and administrative action. They demonstrate the interrelatedness of historiography and political ideology and show how the same text served both to strengthen the ruler’s authority and moderate his excesses. Together, the chapters highlight the immense complexity of ancient Chinese political thought, and the deep tensions running within it.
Contributors include Scott Cook, Joachim Gentz, Paul R. Goldin, Romain Graziani, Martin Kern, Liu Zehua, Luo Xinhui, Yuri Pines, Roel Sterckx, and Charles Sanft.
Yuri Pines, Ph.D. (1998), is Professor of Chinese Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His publications include
The Everlasting Empire: Traditional Chinese Political Culture and Its Enduring Legacy (Princeton 2012) and
Envisioning Eternal Empire: Chinese Political Thought of the Warring States Era (Hawaii 2009).
Paul R. Goldin, Ph.D. (1996), Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania. His publications include
Rituals of the Way: The Philosophy of Xunzi (Open Court, 1999),
The Culture of Sex in Ancient China (Hawaii, 2002),
After Confucius: Studies in Early Chinese Philosophy (Hawaii, 2005), and
Confucianism (Routledge and California, 2011).
Martin Kern, Ph.D. (1996) is Professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University. His publications include
The Stele Inscriptions of Ch’in Shih-huang: Text and Ritual in Early Chinese Imperial Representation (American Oriental Society 2000) and
Text and Ritual in Early China (ed., Washington 2005).
List of Contributors viii
Ideology and Power in Early China 1
Part One: The Foundations: Unity, Heaven, and Ancestral Models
1 Representations of Regional Diversity during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty 31
Paul R. Goldin
2 Omens and Politics: The Zhou Concept of the Mandate of Heaven as Seen in the
Chengwu Manuscript 49
3 Long Live The King! The Ideology of Power between Ritual and Morality in the
Gongyang zhuan 69
4 Language and the Ideology of Kingship in the “Canon of Yao” 118
Part Two: Textual Battles: Rulers, Ministers, and the People
5 Monarch and Minister: The Problematic Partnership in the Building of Absolute Monarchy in the
Han Feizi 155
6 The Changing Role of the Minister in the Warring States: Evidence from the
Yanzi chunqiu 181
7 Ideologies of the Peasant and Merchant in Warring States China 211
8 Population Records from Liye: Ideology in Practice 249
Epilogue: Ideological Authority in China: Past and Present
9 Political and Intellectual Authority: The Concept of the “Sage-Monarch” and Its Modern Fate 273
Readers interested in early Chinese history and thought; scholars of comparative political thought and political philosophy worldwide; scholars of empire studies; scholars of comparative ancient history.