• Shrines to Living Men in the Ming: Out-takes and Inside Stories

    Wed, Apr 24, 2019, 4:30 pm

    When the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE) government looked like the misbegotten union of a totalitarian emperor and a cowardly, grasping bureaucracy, shrines to the living – primarily to late-Ming eunuch dictator Wei Zhongxian – looked like absurd manifestations of wicked megalomania.  But now scholars take a more balanced view of the complicated strengths and weakness of a state that did last for 276 years.  Ming living shrines, too, deserve a second look.  For they appear frequently in the historical record -- across the whole span of the dynasty (indeed of the imperial period), the whole ter

  • History of Science Annual Workshop

    Fri, Feb 8, 2019 (All day) to Sat, Feb 9, 2019 (All day)

    Trading Objecthood: Global Business and the Language of Natural History in the Long Nineteenth Century

  • Rethinking the Structure and Typology of Liturgical Texts From Dunhuang

    Thu, Dec 6, 2018, 4:30 pm

    This talk gives an overview of recent thinking on the typology and structure of the liturgical texts found among the Dunhuang manuscripts. I propose dividing the thousands of liturgical texts found at Dunhuang into two main categories: liturgical protocols(zhaiyi 齋儀) and liturgies (zhaiwen 齋文). Liturgical protocols (sometimes called “written protocols,” shuyi 書儀) were used as references for drafting liturgies.

  • Eavesdropping on the Perfected: Reading the Zhengao 真誥

    Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 4:30 pm

    The Zhengao 真誥or Declarations of the Perfected is a collection of revealed material and textual fragments assembled by the eminent scholar and Daoist Tao Hongjing 陶弘景(456-536). The revelations included poems, instructions, and meditation methods received by the Daoist Yang Xi 楊羲(330-ca. 386) from a new class of deity (Perfected beings真人) and shared by him with his patrons and students in a single family, the Xu’s. The recipients were not passive, but responded with questions and remarks of their own, prompting further revelations.

  • The 2019 Annual Mote Lecture

    Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 4:30 pm

    The Public Performance of Justice: The Transcultural Career of an Early Chinese Political Installation Across Eurasia

  • Dreaming Dharma's Decline: An Indian Buddhist Vaticinium ex event

    Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 4:30 pm

    Indian Buddhist literature preserves in a variety of forms a short episode of royal dreams and their interpretation by a holy figure. Several strands of this complex of closely related episodes found their way into Arabic, Persian and eventually Slavic and other literatures, moving out of Buddhist Asia and reaching even the far corners of Europe. This lecture introduces the sources, and proposes ways to think about them from a variety of perspectives: narratively, rhetorically, politically, and of course religiously.

  • Albums of Ordinary Faces: The Practice of Portrait Painting in Late Imperial China

    Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 4:30 pm

    Painted portraits were of paramount importance in Chinese society of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912) and produced in enormous numbers, on a scale even larger than in the West. Yet, in Chinese art history and art collections they figure less prominently than in the West. Portraits documented families and ancestors in China, and with the exception of portraits of famous artists or scholars remained separate from the world of art. Consequently, they have been studied much less, and many questions remain about the practice of portrait painting.


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