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The Crisis and Maintenance of Empire in Song China
Author: Hilde De Weerdt
Negotiating Standards for the Civil Service Examinations in Imperial China (1127–1279)
Author: Hilde De Weerdt
Author: Hilde De Weerdt

This article proposes that in Song China, as opposed to early modern England, user publication or the publication of texts by readers quickly adjusted to the print medium. It does so on the basis of an examination of the publishing history of Wang Mingqing’s 王明清 (1127-after 1214) serially published notebook, Huizhu lu 揮麈錄 (Waving the duster) in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and an analysis of how manuscript and print texts were used and discussed throughout it. The article aims to contribute towards a better understanding of the relationship between print and manuscript at a time when printing had just become a medium for the dissemination of a wide variety of types of knowledge and particularly of twelfth-century perceptions of this relationship. Wang Mingqing’s notebook further illustrates that in notebooks literati collected and published manuscript and print texts of value to them, including those related to recent dynastic history. The display of textual connoisseurship was one of several ways in which growing numbers of men expressed their aspiration for literati status in notebooks from the twelfth century onwards.

In: East Asian Publishing and Society
In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author: Hilde De Weerdt

Abstract

This article investigates two kinds of publishing regulations issued during the Song Dynasty, those governing cross-border smuggling of written texts and those on texts relating to border affairs. It argues that the Song court's and Song officials' anxiety about the smuggling of state documents into the surrounding empires was foremost an expression of their concern over the circulation of state documents among literate elites inside Song territory. The analysis of cross-border smuggling focuses on alleged smuggling "to the north," i.e., to the empires bordering on the Song Empire's northern frontier. In order to substantiate the systematic connections made among Song publishing regulations, official and elite constructions of "the north" and elite political culture, the author contrasts prohibitions on the cross-border smuggling of texts to those governing other goods and compares publishing regulations in The Tang Code and The Classified Laws of the Qingyuan Period of ca. 1202. Cette étude s'intéresse à deux sortes de règlements sur les publications promulgués par les Song: ceux qui régissaient la contrebande transfrontalière des textes écrits et ceux qui concernaient les textes relatifs aux affaires frontalières. L'argument développé est que l'inquiétude de la cour et des fonctionnaires des Song relativement à la contrebande des documents d'État au profit des empires voisins reflétait avant tout leurs craintes concernant la circulation des documents gouvernementaux au sein des élites lettrées sur le territoire même des Song. L'analyse de la contrebande transfrontalière se concentre sur la prétendue contrebande vers "le Nord", autrement dit les empires jouxtant les Song sur leur frontière nord. L'auteur justifie les rapports qu'elle établit systématiquement entre les règlements Song sur les publications, la construction de la notion de "Nord" au sein de la bureaucratie et de l'élite lettrée, et la culture politique de l'élite, en comparant les prohibitions relatives à la contrebande transfrontalière des textes et celles concernant d'autres produits, et compare les règlements sur les publication dans le Code des Tang et dans la Législation classifiée de l'ère Qingyuan (vers 1202).

In: T'oung Pao
Author: Hilde De Weerdt

This essay critically analyses the legacy of Eisenstadt’s The Political Systems of Empires for the comparative political history of preindustrial empires. It argues that Eisenstadt has given us a rich toolkit to conceptualize the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of empires by theorizing the structural relationships between social groups in large-scale polities and among such polities, and by analysing global patterns of development in the distribution of the sources of social power. The Political Systems of Empires provides an inventory of key questions and dynamics that a comparative history of power relationships in empires cannot ignore. This essay, furthermore, discusses three methodological problems in Eisenstadt’s work which have had a significant impact on comparative empire studies between the 1980s and the 2000s. The essay argues that certain shared features of comparative studies of pre-industrial empires help perpetuate Eurocentric analyses: the foregrounding of select empires and periods as ideal types (typicality), the focus on macro-historical structures and dynamics without the integration of social relationships and actions in historical conjunctures (the lack of scalability), and the search for convergence and divergence. These features need to be overcome to make Eisenstadt’s legacy viable for comparative political history.

In: Asian Review of World Histories
In: Knowledge and Text Production in an Age of Print: China, 900-1400
In: Information, Territory, and Networks
In: Information, Territory, and Networks
In: Information, Territory, and Networks