Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Selling Domestic Knowledge: The Publication of the Required Knowledge for Family Use and the Formulation of Ideal Family

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Virginia Suite B, Lobby Level

The expansion of commercial book market created new commodities that targeted new readers with their new forms or new contents. This paper discusses a specific kind of encyclopedia which claimed to include the comprehensive knowledge for domestic use. This kind of encyclopedia, such as the Complete Collection of the Required Knowledge for Family Use 居家必用事類大全 and the Required Reference for Family 居家必備, emerged in southeastern China around the 14th century and flourished since the 16th century. By tracing their publishing histories, exploring their contents and comparing them to other contemporary publications, this paper attempts to respond the following questions: how did these encyclopedias define “domestic” knowledge and how were they organized? To what extent did these schemes reflect the ideal of family or the domestic realm? What is the historical significance of the commoditization of structured domestic knowledge during this time, and how did these attempts to organize a comprehensive and comprehensible textual version of domestic knowledge influence the various kinds of family references, as well as the image of an ideal family, in following centuries? By looking at these cases, this paper examines the role of commercial imprints in creating a field of knowledge by reorganizing existing information, and the interactions between knowledge and social norms.

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Send Email for Selling Domestic Knowledge: The Publication of the Required Knowledge for Family Use and the Formulation of Ideal Family