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Deep Dive Winter 2020--February 20-21

Deep Dive Winter 2020

Lecture: Localist Turns: A Data-Driven Approach to Chinese Local History

Speaker: Peter K. Bol, Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Time: Thursday, February 20, 2020 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Location: Clark Library Instructional Space (240 Hatcher Graduate Library)

Free and Open to the Public. Light refreshments will be provided.

Every major Chinese dynasty experienced a localist turn in which the centralizing power of the founding gave way to increasing localism, but all localist turns were not the same. This talk will note the general phenomena and explore an influential localist turn that took place in Wuzhou (Jinhua) in Zhejiang province during the Mongols' Yuan dynasty, the consequences of which have continued into the present. This will also show how prosopographical, spatial, and network analysis can reveal key elements of elite social and cultural change.

Workshop: Spatial, Network, and Prosopographical Analysis with the China Biographical Database (CBDB)

Speaker: Peter K. Bol, Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Time: Friday, February 21, 2020 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Location: Hatcher Gallery Lab (100 Hatcher Graduate Library)

A light lunch will be provided. The classroom is equipped with laptops, but please feel free to bring your own.

Registration required, please click HERE to register if you are a U-M affiliate.
Non-U-M registrants should email Liangyu Fu at

Digital Scholarship Workshop Travel Grants: A limited number of travel grants are available to non-U-M affiliates in Chinese studies who wish to attend the workshop. Please note that the travel grant can be used to attend both the lecture and the workshop, but are dependent on scholars registering for and attending the workshop. For more information on the travel grants and how to apply, please click HERE.

The workshop will introduce the concepts and techniques of relational databases using the China Biographical Database (CBDB), spatial analysis using Quantum GIS (QGIS) and network analysis using Gephi. CBDB is database of over 425,000 men and women in Chinese history, mainly from the 7th to the early 20th century. The MS Access version used in this workshop can be freely downloaded from the CBDB website. Quantum GIS and Gephi are freeware. This hands-on workshop will show how to design simple and complex queries in a relational database; how to visualize the results on historically-accurate maps using QGIS and geographic datasets from the China Historical GIS (CHGIS); and how to visualize and measure different kinds of network centrality using Gephi. The workshop will provide the entire CBDB database and many CHGIS datasets.

Peter K. Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. His research is centered on the history of China’s cultural elites at the national and local levels from the 7th to the 17th century. He is the author of "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China, Neo-Confucianism in History, coauthor of Sung Dynasty Uses of the I-ching, co-editor of Ways with Words, and various journal articles in Chinese, Japanese, and English. He led Harvard’s university-wide effort to establish support for geospatial analysis in teaching and research; in 2005 he was named the first director of the Center for Geographic Analysis. As Vice Provost (2013/09-2018/10) he was responsible for HarvardX, the Harvard Initiative in Learning and Teaching, and research that connects online and residential learning. He also directs the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project, a collaboration between Harvard and Fudan University in Shanghai to create a GIS for 2000 years of Chinese history. In a collaboration between Harvard, Academia Sinica, and Peking University he directs the China Biographical Database project, an online relational database currently of 420,000 historical figures that is being expanded to include all biographical data in China's historical record over the last 2000 years. Together with William Kirby he teaches ChinaX course, one of the HarvardX courses.