The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History / Edition 1

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This volume seeks to study the connections between two well-studied epochs in Chinese history: the mid-imperial era of the Tang and Song (ca. 800-1270) and the late imperial era of the late Ming and Qing (1550-1900). Both eras are seen as periods of explosive change, particularly in economic activity, characterized by the emergence of new forms of social organization and a dramatic expansion in knowledge and culture. The task of establishing links between these two periods has been impeded by a lack of knowledge of the intervening Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). This historiographical "black hole" has artificially interrupted the narrative of Chinese history and bifurcated it into two distinct epochs.

This volume aims to restore continuity to that historical narrative by filling the gap between mid-imperial and late imperial China. The contributors argue that the Song-Yuan-Ming transition (early twelfth through the late fifteenth century) constitutes a distinct historical period of transition and not one of interruption and devolution. They trace this transition by investigating such subjects as contemporary impressions of the period, the role of the Mongols in intellectual life, the economy of Jiangnan, urban growth, neo-Confucianism and local society, commercial publishing, comic drama, and medical learning.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674010963
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Series: Harvard East Asian Monographs Series, #221
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 552
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Jakov Smith is John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences in the History Department at Haverford College.

Richard von Glahn is Professor of Chinese History at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Peter K. Bol is Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.

Lucille Chia is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Problematizing the Song-Yuan-Ming Transition

Paul Jakov Smith

1. Imagining Pre-modern China

Richard von Glahn

2. Impressions of the Song-Yuan-Ming Transition: The Evidence from Biji Memoirs

Paul Jakov Smith

3. Did the Mongols Matter? Territory, Power, and the Intelligentsia in China from the Northern Song to the Early Ming

John W. Dardess

4. Was There a 'Fourteenth-Century Turning Point'? Population, Land, Technology, and Farm Management

Li Bozhong

5. Towns and Temples: Urban Growth and Decline in the Yangzi Delta, 1100-1400

Richard von Glahn

6. Women and Confucianism from Song to Ming: The Institutionalization of Patrilineality

Bettine Birge

7. Neo-Confucianism and Local Society, Twelfth to Sixteenth Century: A Case Study

Peter K. Bol

8. Mashaben: Commercial Publishing in Jianyang from the Song to the Ming

Lucille Chia

9. Text and Ideology: Ming Editors and Northern Drama

Stephen H. West

10. Medical Learning from the Song to the Ming

Angela Ki-che Leung

Reference Matter


Works Cited


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