Nicolas Tackett F'18, F'14

Nicolas  Tackett
Professor
History
University of California, Berkeley

ACLS Fellowship Program 2018
Associate Professor
History
University of California, Berkeley
The Rise of the Chinese Meritocracy: The Transformation of Elite Culture in Tenth-Century China

This project explores the sudden appearance in the tenth century of a meritocratic culture that constituted the ideological foundation of China's famous civil service exams. It complements an earlier sociopolitical study examining the physical destruction of China’s aristocracy by explaining the accompanying cultural shift from an “aristocratic” to a “meritocratic” ethos, a shift which is treated in large measure as a product of the rampant migrations of the era. Using new digital tools, the study maps out the primary routes of elite migration during the tenth century and assesses how migration correlated with a package of cultural changes.

ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowships 2014
Assistant Professor
History
University of California, Berkeley
The Rise of the Chinese Meritocracy: A Digital Approach to the Study of Cultural Change in Tenth-Century China

This project explores the sudden appearance in the 10th c. of a meritocratic culture that transformed Chinese elite society and constituted the ideological foundation of China's famous civil service exams. My earlier work used GIS, social network analysis, and a very large biographical database to explain the physical demise of China’s aristocracy. This project now complements that sociopolitical research with a study that explains the accompanying cultural change as a product of the rampant migration of the era. Using new digital tools, The Rise of the Chinese Meritocracy will map out the primary routes of elite migration during the 10th century and assess how migration correlated with a package of cultural changes (including burial culture, language dialect, as well as articulations in literary texts of the new meritocratic ethos).