Program

Library of Congress Fellowships in International Studies , Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society

Project

The Formation of Modern Sinology, 1800-1860

Project

Comparative Perspectives on Materiality in the History of the Book: China and East Asia

Department

East Asian Languages and Literatures

Location

Ohio State University

The Formation of Modern Sinology, 1800-1860

In the early nineteenth century, Western individuals and institutions began to systematically acquire Chinese books. Largely conducted through Chinese booksellers and publishers in and around Guangzhou (Canton), these purchases represented not only an important turning in the Western study of China, but also laid a significant material foundation for how the new discipline of sinology and related fields such as comparative philology, literature, and linguistics were conceived. In addition to furnishing unprecedented detail about a critical, yet largely unstudied Chinese publishing hub, my research on the Sino-Western book trade will also investigate how the accident of locale affected the formation of Western ideas of what constituted “Chinese letters.””

Comparative Perspectives on Materiality in the History of the Book: China and East Asia

Our workshop seeks to provoke discussion among China Studies scholars and their counterparts in Korean Studies and Japan Studies about the question of materiality (material culture) in the academic discipline of Book Studies, and specifically the materiality of books in Chinese and East Asian regional societies. The team’s long-term goal is to propose an alternative model for analyzing the materiality of books from China, Korea, and Japan and, in turn, to demonstrate innovative approaches to constructing knowledge about the book cultures of East Asia as a region. In sum, we will advance a framework that is potentially transformative to the field of Book Studies as a whole.