Organizer: Ruth W. Dunnell, Kenyon College
Discussants: Ruth W. Dunnell, Kenyon College; Donald Lopez, University of Michigan; Evelyn Rawski, University of Pittsburgh; James Hevia, North Carolina A & T University; Demerie Faitler, Allegheny College; Mark Elliot, University of California, Santa Barbara; Phillipe ForÍt, University of California, Berkeley
The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan sponsored a five week NEH Institute in the summer of 1994 entitled, "Reading the Manchu Summer Palace at Chengde: Art, Ritual, and Rulership in 18th Century China and Inner Asia." The Institute brought together a group of twenty three participants (all of whom teach at American colleges and universities) and eleven faculty from the United States and Europe.
The purpose of the Institute was to introduce Inner Asia to the undergraduate humanities curriculum by providing teachers with new materials on Asian culture and new perspectives on their own disciplines. The Institute explored the role played by the Mongols, Manchus, and Tibetans in Asian history and in the development of the Chinese state. In particular the Institute articulated the links between religion and politics in the Manchus' evolving conception of rulership through an in depth study of the Manchu summer palace at Chengde, primarily during the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-1795).
The faculty and participants collaborated in a group research project focused on the events of 1780, the year of Qianlong's seventieth birthday and the year that the third Panchen Lama visited Chengde and Beijing. This project will result in the publication of a teaching and research guide accompanied by a slide set. The Institute arrived at new insights pertaining to the Qianlong reign and Qing-Inner Asian relations. In addition, a number of research endeavors have been launched as a result of the Institute. In the Round Table, four of the faculty (including the two directors, Lopez and Dunnell) and three of the participants will report on the work of the Institute.
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