ICS Lecture: Cynthia Brokaw, “Role of Print in Chinese Political and Cultural Mainstream"

February 17, 2015
Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Denney Hall, room 311 (164 W. 17th Avenue)

Institute for Chinese Studies presents the "Global and Transnational Experiences" Lecture Series & Annual Lecture in History of the Book

Bio
Cynthia Brokaw, Professor of History, Chair of History, Brown University

A specialist in late imperial Chinese history (ca. 1400-1900), Professor Brokaw taught at Vanderbilt University, University of Oregon, and the Ohio State University before going to Brown in 2009. Her first work, The Ledgers of Merit and Demerit: Social Change and Moral Order in Late Imperial China (1991), examines the role of popular religious belief in the formation of social ideology. Commerce in Culture: The Sibao Book Trade in the Qing and Republican Periods (2007), based on archival and field work in China, is a study of a rural book publishing industry active in distributing popular texts throughout south China. She is now engaged in research on the role that print culture played in the re-integration of Sichuan province into the Chinese political and cultural mainstream over the course of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), work she draws on for her lecture, co-sponsored by Literacy Studies and History:
 

Abstract
“Regional Book Cultures and Publishing Networks in Qing China”

Sichuan province, on the southwestern borders of the Qing empire (1644-1911), is the site of a case study of regional book cultures and their relationship to empire-wide publishing and bookselling networks.  Devastated by a series of civil conflicts, rebellions, and invasions in the early seventeenth century, Sichuan was a cultural wasteland by the founding of the Qing: its population had been decimated, the educated elites had fled the province, schools and academies had fallen into disrepair, and book collections and publishing operations had been destroyed. Beginning in the eighteenth century, enterprising publisher-booksellers from other provinces established printing operations in the major cities of Sichuan, Chengdu and Chongqing, spurring the revival of book culture, broadly defined, in the province.  I examine the nature of the book culture—or, more accurately, of the several book cultures—that had emerged in Sichuan by the end of the nineteenth century; and the role they played in reintegrating the province culturally, intellectually, and politically into the empire. 

History of the Book formed at Ohio State in 2005. The group's interests include the social, economic, and cultural history of authorship, editing, printing, publishing, media, book art, book trade, periodicals, newspapers, ephemera, copyright, censorship, literary agents, libraries, literary criticism, canon formation, literacy, literary education, translation studies and multiculturalism, reading habits, and reader response. The group meets regularly to discuss work-in-progress and new publications, and for talks by colleagues and invited speakers.

LiteracyStudies@OSU established an annual lecture in History of the Book in 2012. LEAH PRICE (Harvard) gave the inaugural lecture on “Force-Reading: Free Print and Captive Audiences in Victorian Britain, or How Victorians Invented Spam.” In 2013, the LAURA MANDELL (Texas A & M) presented "The Material Form of Literary Conversation: Encoding and Modeling Texts from Early to Mass Print." CHRISTOPHER HAGER (Trinity College) gave the annual lecture in 2014 on the fate of manuscript culture during the age of Emancipation. The 4th Annual Lecture in History of the Book is co-sponsored by the Department of History.

 
Interested faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to contact the Alan Farmer (English) at farmer.109@osu.edu or Patricia Sieber (EALL) at sieber.6@osu.edu.
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Co-sponsors: Literacy Studies and Department of History

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