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Sarah Allan, Editor of Early China
HB 6191
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Anne Behnke Kinney, Book Review editor for Early China
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Conference Announcements 2008

Members and guests are welcome to inform as of the forthcoming relevant conferences and panels, including those in China.

Please send the information directly to Yuri Pines,

The Birth of Empire: The State of Qin revisited, December 10-19, 2008

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Institute for Advanced Studies, December 10-19, 2008

Conference program and abstracts

Summary of the Conference

Early China at AAS, Atlanta, April 3-6, 2008

Society and Economy in Early Imperial China: New Insights from Recently Excavated Qin and Han Legal Manuscripts
Organizer: Anthony J. Barbieri-Low, University of California, Santa Barbara
Chair and Discussant: Constance A. Cook, Lehigh University

This panel introduces some preliminary results of a multi-year NEH and CCK Foundation-funded program to translate and study recently excavated legal texts from Early China. In 1975, the discovery of the Shuihudi Qin legal texts signaled a new era in the study of the interrelationship between law, state, and society in Warring States and early imperial China. While the Shuihudi texts have been translated into English and studied in some detail, especially by Chinese and Japanese scholars, subsequent discoveries of legal and administrative texts from the sites of Zhangjiashan (1983), Baoshan (1987), Longgang (1989), Xuanquan (1990), Liye (1996), and Zoumalou (1996) have added a wealth of new information that profoundly alters our understanding of many central aspects of the early imperial Chinese state and society, legal processes, class and ranking structure, gender relations, labor mobilization, resource procurement, and territorial administration. The four papers of this panel draw on some of these recent discoveries to introduce new insights. Anthony Barbieri-Low looks at how the state developed the natural resources of imperial land in conjunction with private industrialists. Robin D.S Yates investigates slavery and the status of slaves and household members during the Qin and Han. Leslie Wallace looks at the administration of royal hunting parks. Moonsil Lee Kim examines the role of food resources in maintaining societal hierarchies during the Qin and Han periods. Finally, the chair and discussant, Constance Cook, will place these papers into context and frame questions for discussion by these scholars and the assembled audience.

The Interpretation and Use of the Shijing in the Han Dynasty
Organizer: David Zeb Raft, Harvard University
Chair and Discussant: Martin Kern, Princeton University

Our current text and commentary for the Shijing (the Book of Songs, a work of supreme importance in early China) can be traced with assurance only to the Han dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE). Recently, archaeological discoveries of pre-Han (and early Han) texts and commentaries have sparked great interest in uncovering what the Shijing looked like and how it was read before the Han. By contrast, comparatively little attention has been focused recently on how the Shijing was read and used during the Han, a question for which we have an abundance of interesting sources. This panel examines the use of the Shijing in a variety of Han texts and contexts. Chen Zhi’s paper seeks to understand the musical traditions with which the Shijing was associated at the Western Han court. Hu Qiulei unravels the layers of interpretation surrounding the poem “Han guang” (Mao 9) and investigates how these interpretations were arrived at. Zeb Raft examines the use of the Shijing in a Han divination text, the Jiaoshi yilin, questioning whether that work can be associated with a Qi school of Shijing interpretation. Suh-jen Yang’s paper compares the use of the poem “Kai feng” (Mao 32) in stele inscriptions of the Han and Six Dynasties with the Mao Commentary and Three Schools’ interpretations of that poem. Each of these case studies sheds new light on Han dynasty approaches to the Shijing, and the panel as a whole should serve to characterize the current state of research and outline new directions for the future.

Last Updated: 9/28/11