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November 16, 2011

Fall 2011 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Pär Cassel

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Pär Cassel, U-M Assistant Professor of History

From Filiality to Loyalty: Visions of the Emperor in Late Imperial China

December 6, 2011
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

When historians and social scientists have tried to account for the different personality cults that emerged in the twentieth century, they have often treated those movements as regressions into an “emperor worship,” which was supposedly intrinsic to the political culture of imperial China. However, the vast mass of commoners did not stand in any direct ritual relationship to the state or the emperor in late imperial China; the name, the countenance or personal qualities of the Ming and Qing Emperors were not known to the common people and they were not called upon to participate in official rituals to worship the sovereign. Yet the emperor was ever-present to his commoners in a variety of ways and he spoke directly to them in a number of political documents that were designed to exalt the image of the ruling house through promotion of Confucian virtues. This talk looks at one of those documents, the Sacred Edict of the Kangxi and Yongzheng emperors, and explores how it shaped the political culture of late imperial China.

Pär Cassel is assistant professor of history at the University of Michigan. He has just completed his book, entitled Grounds of Judgment: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan, which is due to be published by Oxford University Press (New York) in 2012. The book reopens the question of consular jurisdiction and extraterritoriality in China and Japan and combines the findings of “New Qing history” with the history of the treaty ports in both China and Japan.

Posted by zzhu at November 16, 2011 03:27 PM