Organized Panel Session
Early modern East Asia witnessed an explosion of textual production, from manuscripts to woodblock and movable type prints. Increased availability of books posed new challenges to compilers and readers who sought comprehensiveness in a sea of information. This panel explores the ways in which textual production in the early modern age required new modes of classifying, compiling, and categorizing knowledge. The rise of new paratextual and organizational methods has typically been understood in terms of technological and social factors specific to the early modern West. By comparing practices across East Asia from multiple methodological perspectives, we aim to raise questions about the relationships between texts, authors, and audiences that can be more broadly generalized to the early modern world. What were the convergences and disjunctions among notions of knowledge organization in China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea? How did vernacular practices translate and transform Chinese models? What effects did these textual practices have on the experience of readers?
Oh examines a set of Chosǒn encyclopedias, which created a new knowledge order for comprehending the universe. Baldanza explores an eighteenth-century Vietnamese encyclopedia, relating its categories and contents to the transnational circulation of ideas and books. Vedal investigates methods of book classification in Ming China as a reflection of shifting intellectual priorities, while Söderblom Saarela examines the quantification of textual material in a bilingual Manchu-Chinese context, tying early modern practices to the dawn of the modern period. Yonemoto will comment on these papers from the perspective of her research on Tokugawa textual culture.