LRCCS Noon Lecture Series: On the Peripheries of Print Culture: Notebooks (biji) in Eleventh-Century China
Although it is difficult to identify a distinct moment in the Chinese past when printing technology caused a radical change in the production or the transfer of knowledge, it is evident that during the eleventh century the availability of printed texts transformed practices of reading and writing, and allowed the creation of virtual communities of learning. Notebooks (biji) of this period not only record new practices of reading and writing, but they contribute to those practices by offering a convenient form for the recording of new kinds of knowledge, and by assisting in the creation of categories of knowledge (e.g., connoisseurship of commodities), some of which subsequently become the subject of separate literary genres.
Christian de Pee [duh PAY] is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1997. His first book, The Writing of Weddings in Middle-Period China, was published by the State University of New York Press in 2007. His current research examines when, where, and why the city and the cityscape became acceptable topics of literary composition in eleventh-century China. Today’s talk about notebooks (biji) is part of this broad reflection on semiotic relationships between text and space.