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Statecraft and Cultural Diversity in Premodern China: Empire, Ethnic Identity and Religious Ideology

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), 1F, 117

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


This panel aims to discuss how cultural diversity in imperial China gave rise to interwoven religious and ethnic identities. The panel participants will explore the complex process of negotiation of identity in multiple locales. In this panel, we seek to deconstruct state-centered identity and de-territorialize the boundaries of premodern China; we see the cultural contacts between China and her neighbors as a set of diversified, uneven and heterogeneous influences, rather than a mono-directional process.
The papers of this panel draw on sources from political documents from ancient Sichuan, juridical texts of the Mongol empire, religious texts on Sogdians' conversion to Buddhism in Tang China, tombstones of Persians in Mediaeval Hangzhou, and Muslim mosques in Guangzhou. By offering viewpoints from the legal system, architectural evidence, anthropological approaches, religious debate and historical analysis, this panel as a whole will illuminate how religions interplayed with gender, geo-politics, and ethnic stratification.
By paying special attention to mutual relations, hybridity, negotiability and syncretism, the presenters will illustrate how the large Sinific world became a space for diverse cultures and how statecraft responded to the complexity of ethnic identity. It will generate a multi-disciplinary discussion which may be applicable to studies of the modern world.

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