Reading Biji: Randomness, Fluidity, Materiality, and Emotionality


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Collaborative Reading-Workshop Grants




This workshop aims to assess biji (notebooks) as a genre of writing and as sources for scholars who study the society, culture, and literature of Song China (960-1279). The discussion will consist of four themes. The first group of scholars look into the unique epistemology of “randomness” embodied in the often unsystematic appearance of biji. The second group of readers address biji as a genre and examine the often-fluid boundaries that distinguished biji from other types of texts. The third group explores biji as an important source for studies of material culture and everyday life. And the fourth group draws on biji as a source for understanding how Song people addressed interpersonal relationships and feelings.