China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Furthering recent inquiries on the geographical, infrastructural, and literary construction of space, this panel brings together a variety of perspectives to explore how different cultural projects conditioned and transformed physical space in Song-Yuan China. Instead of demarcating places as independent, static entities, we explore space and place in light of human creativity and dynamic cultural experience, and accordingly revisit the continuous reconfiguration of meaning through perceptual and conceptual schemes by which literati of the eleventh through fourteenth centuries related themselves to the worlds they inhabited.
In particular, Zhang investigates the literary furnishing of some landmark buildings in the prefectural office compound, and discusses the ways they reoriented and recreated administrative space in eleventh century Xiangzhou; Moser studies how urbanization fostered a new painting style that sought to create an embodied viewership through an examination of the famous Along the River on the Qingming Festival; Mi explores aesthetic preferences in poetry quotations in twelfth and thirteenth century gazetteers, which reveal to us the discursive tensions between different locales and the state; Hui examines how fourteenth century travel literature by envoys dispatched to Annam altered the conceptualization of the Mongol-Yuan territory, and in turn naturalized the empire’s expansionist ambition.
Collectively, the papers aim to deepen scholarly understanding of the role cultural space played in the generation of experience, the ways in which aesthetic space extended and contested physical place, and the processes whereby a perspectival vision of a place formed communal history through the creation of a spatial order.