Culture and State in Chinese History (Irvine Studies in the Humanities): Conventions, Accommodations, and Critiques

Overview

Many observers of late imperial China have noted the relatively small size of the state in comparison to the geographic size and large population of China and have advanced various theories to account for the ability of the state to maintain itself in power. One of the more enduring explanations has been that the Chinese state, despite its limited material capacities, possessed strong ideological powers and was able to influence cultural norms in ways that elicited allegiance ...

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Overview

Many observers of late imperial China have noted the relatively small size of the state in comparison to the geographic size and large population of China and have advanced various theories to account for the ability of the state to maintain itself in power. One of the more enduring explanations has been that the Chinese state, despite its limited material capacities, possessed strong ideological powers and was able to influence cultural norms in ways that elicited allegiance and responded to the desire for order.

The fourteen papers in this volume re-examine the assumptions of how state power functioned, particularly the assumption of a sharp divide between state and society. The general conclusion is that the state was only one actor—albeit a powerful one—in a culture that elites and commoners could shape, either in cooperation with the state or in competition with it. The temporal range of the papers extends from the twelfth to the twentieth century, though most of the papers deal with the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The book is in four parts. Part I deals with philosophical, historiographical, and literary debates and their relation to the late imperial state; Part II with the multiple roles of officials, elites, specialists, and commoners in constructing norms of religious beliefs and practices. Part III presents criticisms by late imperial intellectuals of both state policies and social conventions, and examines official efforts to incorporate and utilize elite commitments to Confucian views of political and cultural order. Part IV discusses ways in which the twentieth-century Chinese political order emerged from a trajectory defined in part by the intersection of late imperial practices with Western categories of knowledge.

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Meet the Author

Professor Theodore Huters is Professor of Modern Chinese Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. R. Bin Wang is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Pauline Yu is Dean of Humanities and Professor of Chinese Litera

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Table of Contents

Contributors
Introduction: Shifting Paradigms of Political and Social Order 1
1 Examinations and Orthodoxies: 1070 and 1313 Compared 29
2 The Formation of "Dao Learning" as Imperial Ideology During the Early Ming Dynasty 58
3 Canon Formation in Late Imperial China 83
4 Salvaging Poetry: The "Poetic" in the Qing 105
5 A Jiao Is a Jiao Is a? Thoughts on the Meaning of a Ritual 129
6 At the Margin of Public Authority: The Ming State and Buddhism 161
7 Power, Gender, and Pluralism in the Cult of the Goddess of Taishan 182
8 Style and Suffering in Two Stories by "Langxian" 207
9 Ming-Qing Women Poets and the Notions of "Talent" and "Morality" 236
10 The Scorpion in the Scholar's Cap: Ritual, Memory, and Desire in Rulin waishi 259
11 The Shattered Mirror: Wu Jianren and the Reflection of Strange Events 277
12 Confucian Agendas for Material and Ideological Control in Modern China 303
13 Community, Society, and History in Sun Yat-sen's Sanmin zhuyi 326
14 Constructing the Civilized Community 346
Notes 369
Works Cited 441
Character List 475
Index 487
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