Workshop with Hilde de Weerdt: Towards a Global Intellectual History of “Mirrors of Princes”
Eurasian elites in medieval times shared not only luxury items, marriage ties, or military practices that set them off from the populations they sought to rule, but also political ideas and practices whose changing appeal in different contexts can be examined in political advice literature. Some work has already been done on the shared features of Christian and Islamic political advice manuals but the comparative and connective studies typically stop at the Indian border. In this presentation I focus on the best-known Chinese “mirror,” The Essentials of Government in the Zhenguan Reign, a classic to which both Korean and Chinese leaders still pay tribute. I will discuss its emergence as a product of the tensions between Eurasian military aristocrats and Chinese scholar-officials and then discuss how we can move towards a transcultural history of ideas about rulership and ministerial power in very different contexts through the transmission history of this text in the worlds of Japanese samurai, Tangut and Khitan rulers, Mongol and Manchu emperors, and Chinese literati who learned about it in a variety of literary, theatrical, and historical adaptations as well as in translations of The Essentials itself.
About the lecturer:
Hilde De Weerdt works on imperial Chinese intellectual and political history focusing on the question of how elite networks shaped Chinese politics. Her first book is an intellectual history of the civil service examinations. Her latest book examines the formation of a new information regime in imperial Chinese history, characterized by the production and dissemination of court- and polity-related texts by cultural elites (literati) instead of the court and high officialdom. It also examines the impact of this shift in cultural production on political identities and the structure of the polity.
Location: F.211B, Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam
Time: October 18th, 3PM-5PM
For more information, please contact Annelien de Dijn (firstname.lastname@example.org)