China & Inner Asia: Table of Contents
Organizer and Chair: Angela Zito, Columbia University
Heying Jenny Zhan, University of Kansas
This paper discusses the social and historical backgrounds for the emergence of womens instructional literature in China during the Han, Tang, and Ming dynasties and serves as an introduction to the recent translations of the classic Four Books for Women (Womens Precepts, by Ban Zhao; Analects for Women, by Consort Song; Filial Piety for Women, by Chen Miaos wife, Nee Zheng; and Instructions to the Inner Apartment, by Empress Ren Xiao) collaborated on by the author and Roger Bradshaw. Some comparative analysis of the contents of the four books is providedwith special emphasis on the differing expectations for men and women in terms of conduct, virtue, and propriety. Furthermore, it probes how the meaning of concepts evolved to suit new socio-historical contexts, how womens moral instruction adapted and expanded in influence, and the significance of these instructional books to the shaping of Chinese womanhood.
Anne T. Gerritsen, Harvard University
Scholars of pre-modern Chinese history have generally assumed that the relationship between state and society was subject to historical change, but how exactly it changed has not been easy to determine, particularly for the transitional period of Southern Song to Ming. In this paper, I propose to look at one aspect of society over which government tried to assert its influence, namely religion, in Jian prefecture in Jiangxi province, to come to an understanding of the changing nature of the state-society relationship.
I will look at five authors, and attempt to establish the way in which each author represented the role of government vis-à-vis local religion in temple inscriptions. I suggest that while during the Southern Song dynasty, temple inscriptions were written very much from the point of view of local society, during the Yuan dynasty we can see the beginning of a religious culture with a more national outlook, in which the state featured to a higher degree, leading to temple inscriptions written in the Ming by authors who were specifically approached because of the national link they could provide.
The authors I propose to focus on are Ouyang Shoudao (1209?) for whom government had nothing to do with the way in which the local religious community expressed itself; Liu Chenweng (123194) and his son Jiangsun (12581317), whose inscriptions were solicited because of their local reputation; and Jie Xisi (12721344) and Liang Qian (13661418), where the state is represented as a much more active participant in local religion.
Melissa S. Dale, Georgetown University
The riches and power associated with the imperial Chinese court lured many young boys and adult males to become applicants of the eunuch system during the Qing dynasty (16441911). However, once employed within the palace, eunuchs soon found the realities of eunuch life to be much harsher than imagined. Subject to frequent beatings, restricted in their mobility, denied the freedom to terminate their employment with the palace and the right to dispose of their body as they pleased, many eunuchs sought to escape from the Qing eunuch system either through flight from the palace or suicide. Qing documents reveal that eunuchs frequently ran away to avoid receiving a beating. The courts measures to deal with runaway eunuchs such as sentencing them to beatings with a bamboo rod and/or exile to the periphery to cut grass often only increased the desire of eunuchs to flee the system. Committing suicide provided eunuchs with an alternate escape route from the eunuch system. In order to deter eunuch suicide, the Qing court established harsh punishments such as deprivation of a proper burial and sharing responsibility for the crime with the dead eunuchs family members. Ultimately employed in an environment that sanctioned violence as a management tool, where they were severely restricted in their mobility and freedoms, the realities of eunuch life for the majority of the Qing eunuch population reveal the lowly status and restricted lifestyle of the Qing dynasty eunuch.
Yu Li, University of British Columbia
In the nineteenth century, one of the more serious problems in Chinese society was the surplus of the student (tongsheng and shengyuan) population. The surplus was relative. On the one hand, the nationwide expansion of schools produced a larger number of students than ever before in Chinese history; on the other hand, the Qing regime purposely restricted the number of upper degree holders for political reasons, and the premodern society with its limited choices of occupations was unable to absorb all the career-seeking students. This surplus and its outcomes were most observable in Sichuan, the largest inland province of China proper. In my paper, I will first examine the socio-economic background for the education expansion in Qing Sichuan. I then study the expansion itself and my focus will be on the charitable schools (yixue) and academies (shuyuan). After that, I will calculate the number of the students in the late Qing Sichuan and show the ratio between it and that of the whole country. Finally, I will investigate the impact in various ways of the surplus of the student population on the students themselves and on the local society.