Empire, Nation, and Beyond: Chinese History in Late Imperial and Modern Times : a Festschrift in Honor of Frederic Wakeman

Empire, Nation, and Beyond: Chinese History in Late Imperial and Modern Times : a Festschrift in Honor of Frederic Wakeman

Empire, Nation, and Beyond: Chinese History in Late Imperial and Modern Times : a Festschrift in Honor of Frederic Wakeman

Empire, Nation, and Beyond: Chinese History in Late Imperial and Modern Times : a Festschrift in Honor of Frederic Wakeman

Excerpt

In this collection of essays, a group of Frederic Wakeman’s former students join efforts to celebrate the lifetime accomplishments of their much admired teacher. The common thread that runs through these essays, each a part of larger projects with their respective trajectories, is a shared understanding of the historical enterprise that stems from years of studying with Fred. All essays reflect a certain concern with the present while examining the past. All subscribe to the notion, albeit in varying ways, that there is neither erasure nor escape from that past. The contributors seek to show patterns of the past by reading records and bits of evidence that have survived the decay of time, whether because of or despite the intent of their producers. These sources range from archival documents, textual testimonies, institutional manuals, genealogies, local gazetteers, informal miscellaneous writings (biji), unofficial publications, personal recollections, and popular fiction to large-scale compilations—materials first introduced under Fred’s guidance in his scores of History 280G historiography seminars for doctoral students. All are used with attention and sensitivity to the purposes and biases of the sources’ authors balanced with the conviction that beyond the politics of discourses and representations there lie historical processes, and it is the historian’s unending challenge and task to seek their description. Finally, all essays collected here, as in Fred’s writings, approach the past with sensitivities to the dynamics of politics, the power of cultural or ideological norms, the complexities of local infrastructures, and the significance of human choices.

The core of this volume thus lies in its inspiration by and reference to the research, teaching, and service of Frederic Wakeman, whose distinguished scholarly career spanned four . . .

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