Staging the Empire: A History of Qing Court Theatre, 1662 to 1924


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships


East Asian Languages and Literatures


Staging the Empire: A History of Qing Court Theatre, 1662-1924 explores and analyzes the role of theatre at the imperial court of the Qing (1644-1911) and during the early years of Republican China. It examines the dialectical relationships between theatre and the social and ritual systems that shaped the life of the Qing court society. Court-commissioned dramas joined other objet d’art to form a concerted campaign to promote imperial ideologies. The study is one of the first to provide a contextualized reading of the texts and performances of ceremonial dramas in both public and private court settings. The book uses newly discovered archival sources to explore the complex ways in which patrons, performers and spectators negotiated the court theatre’s dual functions as entertainment and ritual.