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September 17, 2009

Martin Powers

Visualizing the State in Early Modern England and China

December 8, 2009
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Martin Powers is a Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan; Former Director of the U-M Center for Chinese Studies

It has been said that the frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan was an early attempt to imagine something very difficult to imagine—the sovereign, the people, and the state—as a single, visually unified entity. Such abstractions did not come easily to the people of premodern times, yet such abstractions were necessary in the formation of the modern state. In China, too, both theorizing and visualizing the relationship between the sovereign, the people, and the state had become a necessity by early modern times. This paper explores the differences between the Hobbsian model and that of Song China and, sidestepping culturalist models, situates those differences in different traditions of fiscal and legal practice.

Martin Powers is Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan, and former Director of the Center for Chinese Studies. His research focuses on the role of the arts in the history of human relations in China, with an emphasis on issues of personal agency and social justice. In 1993 his Art and Political Expression in Early China received the Levenson Prize for the best book in pre-twentieth century Chinese Studies. His Pattern and Person: Ornament, Society, and Self in Classical China, was published by Harvard University Press East Asian Series in 2006 and has been awarded the Levenson Prize for 2008. This year he is at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton writing a book on the role of "China" in the cultural politics of the English garden.

Posted by kanepark at September 17, 2009 05:27 PM