Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Shorter thesis

This paragraph from the intro to my dis, I feel, is a fairly concise statement of the issue I was ultimately attempting to explore:

Although pre-Qing sources do not shed much light on the question of Yao Daoism, or on any other aspects of
Yao religion, they do contain a great deal of information about contacts between Yao and the Chinese state, as well as with other socio-political entities in what is now South China. By “Chinese state” I mean the administrative network that linked diverse regions with the capital, as well as the official bureaucrats and military commanders who, as representatives of the emperor, controlled individual administrative units and pacified autochthonous populations that threatened them. One of the central concerns of authors who we might now call geographers and ethnographers was the detailed documentation of this administrative network. What was important to them was determining exactly what counted as state/government territory—that is, what were the limits of the Emperor’s realm. Throughout this dissertation I am interested in how the state was constructed, both as a physical, territorial entity, but also as a virtual one represented in various textual and visual media, and delineated by such terms as: the Central State (Zhongguo中國) and the Nine Continents (Jiuzhou九州)—terms which pre-figure a dichotomy between center and periphery, inside and outside, civilized and wild.


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