This talk investigates the various conceptualizations of the dead by looking at the funerary rituals, tomb constructions, and grave goods in Early China and argues that, instead of being a natural and static category, the dead was deliberately made and remade through a process of rituals and actions.
Guo Jue is an Assistant Professor at Barnard College and co-chair of Columbia Early China Seminar. She specializes in Early China, especially from the Warring States period to Han times (5th century B.C.E.-3rd century C.E.). Her research interests are primarily in ritual practices, material culture, and social, religious, and cultural history of early societies. Using both received history and archaeological sources, she looks at the intersection and interaction between writing and object, and studies topics including divination, death rituals, tombs and burials, and everyday life in early to medieval China from anthropological and historical perspectives, as well as the way they are theorized in comparative studies.