The Local Politics of Printing: Chinese Genealogies and Rural Society, 1450-1650


Luce/ACLS Early Career Fellowships in China Studies – Flexible




This monograph explores the adoption of printing across rural China for the production of family genealogies. The monograph shows how the use of printing expanded genealogy production from a scholarly realm to a contentious field of local politics, enabling diverse actors—both literate and illiterate—to wrestle for power through genealogy publishing. By viewing printing as a weapon in local politics instead of a text-duplication technology, this research reveals the power of semiliterate and illiterate people in book production, thus contesting the idea of book culture as the educated elite’s realm. Globally, by showing that the use of printing consolidated patrilineal families in China, this work challenges the Euro-centric narrative of the printing revolution.