14 February 2011

Early Modern Chinese Cities

As China becomes an important shaper of the world, understanding the influence of its cities is important for planners.  As such, this could be a fascinating lecture:

Professor William T. Rowe (Ph.D. Columbia) is John and Diane Cooke Professor of Chinese History and current chairperson of the History Department at Johns Hopkins University. He established his reputation as a meticulous scholar with two studies on 19th-century Wuhan entitled Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796-1889 (1984) and Hankow: Conflict and Community in a Chinese City, 1796-1895 (1989) respectively.  More recently, he authored a biographical study on an 18th-century scholar-official and statecraft thinker (Saving the World: Chen Hongmou and Elite Consciousness in Eighteenth-Century China, 2001), chronicled the socio-economic history of a Chinese county from the mid-14th century to the 1920s (Crimson Rain: Seven Centuries of Violence in a Chinese County, 2007), and published a new history of the last Chinese imperial dynasty (China's Last Empire: The Great Qing, 2009).

While cities in late medieval and early modern Europe have long been recognized for their "catalytic" role in the formation of the modern world, Chinese cities have been conceived, until very recently, as basically static and inherently unable to bring about the transformation of Chinese society from tradition to modernity.  In his talk, Professor Rowe will demonstrate just how wrong this earlier conception of the Chinese city was and how, in fact, Chinese cities from the sixteenth century onward became a focal point for the incremental but radical changes of Chinese society at large.  As a result of these changes, a distinctively urban culture developed, and a proliferation of old and new forms of voluntary organizations led to the challenge of the monopoly of authority claimed by the late imperial bureaucratic state and thus laid the foundation for the modern Chinese state.

Please visit us at http://www.ciru.rutgers.edu

Early Modern Chinese Cities: Catalysts for Historical Change by Prof. William T. Rowe from Johns Hopkins University
Time: 4:30 pm on Thursday, February 17, 2011
Venue: Room A, B & C Rutgers Brower Commons, 145 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08902

Open to the Public, All are welcome

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