The Open Empire presents a fresh approach to Chinese history in the premodern period, drawing on stunning evidence from recent archaeological finds and exciting currents in scholarship.
Departing from the dynastic structure typical of other histories, Valerie Hansen charts the broad social changes that transcend the artificial chronological boundaries of dynasties, enriching her narrative with discussions of everyday life in the distant past. Peopling the pages are nobles, peasants, women, students, writers, and rebels--all offering their own distinct and colorful perspective. Illuminating the many ways in which Chinese society has been influenced by foreign cultures, The Open Empire depicts China as a country with a dynamic, open history.
Valerie Hansen teaches Chinese and world history at Yale, where she is professor of history. Her research draws on nontraditional sources to capture the experiences of ordinary people. Her books include The Silk Road: A New History, Voyages in World History (co-authored with Kenneth R. Curtis), Negotiating Daily Life in Traditional China, and Changing Gods in Medieval China, 1127–1279.