How Does Local Knowledge Influence Broader Concepts and Structures of Information?
Chinese local gazetteers have been recording local information since the seventh century: the corpus of texts that they have produced provides an important resource for scholars. In this Latest Thinking video, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Schäfer explores the broader influence of the local gazetteers’ treatment of disasters. Employing digital humanities and the LoGaRT tool, which enables qualitative evaluation of quantitative data, one important case study for Schäfer is a disaster that struck Mulberry plantations in the Yuan dynasty (13th century). Though the disaster affected north and south China, Schäfer explains how historical-political manipulation led to records of the event only appearing in northern texts. The research examines the interplay between the types of local knowledge recorded by the local gazetteers and broader structures of knowledge and information.
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