The occupation of the northern half of the Chinese territories in the 1120s brought about a transformation in political communication in the south that had lasting implications for imperial Chinese history. By the late eleventh century, the Song court no longer dominated the production of information about itself and its territories. Song literati gradually consolidated their position as producers, users, and discussants of court gazettes, official records, archival compilations, dynastic histories, military geographies, and maps. This development altered the relationship between court and literati in political communication for the remainder of the imperial period. Based on a close reading of reader responses to official records and derivatives and on a mapping of literati networks, the author further proposes that the twelfth-century geopolitical crisis resulted in a lasting literati preference for imperial restoration and unified rule.
Hilde De Weerdt makes an important intervention in cultural and intellectual history by examining censorship and publicity together. In addition, she reorients the debate about the social transformation and local turn of imperial Chinese elites by treating the formation of localist strategies and empire-focused political identities as parallel rather than opposite trends.
About the Author
Hilde De Weerdt is Professor of Chinese History at Leiden University.
Table of Contents
List of Figures, Maps, and Tables ix
Preface and Acknowledgments xv
List of Abbreviations xxiii
Part I Contemporary Dimensions of Empire: The Court
1 The Dissemination of the Archives and the Formation of the Late Imperial Archival Mentality 35
2 Court Gazettes and Short Reports 76
Part II Transhistorical Dimensions of Empire: The Chinese Territories
3 The Reconstitution of Empire in Empire Maps 107
Part III Margins, Borders, and Frontiers
4 Strategic Discourse: Building Frontiers in the Public Domain 167
5 The Multiplexity of Premodern Borders 233
Part IV Imperial Information Networks
6 The Notebook Phenomenon 281
7 Informant Networks and Literati Identities 325
8 Representing the Foreign Other 395
Conclusions and Prospects 427
Appendix 1 Supplementary Tables 439
Appendix 2 A Note on Topical Markup 467