Joseph R. Dennis

Writing, Publishing, and Reading Local Gazetteers in Imperial China, 1100-1700

Harvard University Asia Center 2015

New Books in CommunicationsNew Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network October 18, 2015 Carla Nappi

In late imperial China, how did local elites connect with and influence the central government? How was local information made and managed? How did...

In late imperial China, how did local elites connect with and influence the central government? How was local information made and managed? How did the state incorporate frontier areas into the empire? How were books produced and read, and by whom? In his new book, Joseph R. Dennis helps answer these questions and more by studying the genre of local gazetteers. Focusing on the Ming period, Writing, Publishing, and Reading Local Gazetteers in Imperial China, 1100-1700 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2015) argues that gazetteers were “important points of intersection between the central government and local societies and one of the main vehicles for transmitting local information to central government officials.” In seven chapters that collectively move readers through the life cycle of a gazetteer, Dennis’s story informs the histories of the frontier, the state, kinship, the law, material culture, and the book industry. It will be a must-read for all scholars and students of late imperial Chinese history.

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