Nov 23, 2021
The Checkered Game of Mandarin Life: Revisiting Official Careers in the Digital Age
- 14:00 to 15:30
- Dept. III
- Elisabeth Kaske (U Leipzig)
Accounts of China’s time-honored meritocracy mostly end happily with the passing of the civil service examinations, not unlike love stories that culminate in a wedding. However, the day when the examination degree was announced was also the day when the trouble only began. Max Weber, well read in the Peking Gazette, has already noticed the precarity of the nineteenth-century Qing Mandarins. But how precarious were their careers really? How meritorious was their promotion? What were the pitfalls? And what did this mean for the conduct of policies, particularly in the face of crisis? Recent scholarship has seen a revival of data-driven studies of official careers, especially thanks to the digitization of directories by the Lee-Campbell research group in Hong Kong. This exploratory talk combines work with these data, an actual board game, and a novel in order to find out what the new methods from Digital Humanities can contribute to our understanding of the late Qing state, what they miss, and what they could still offer in the future.
Chun Xu (MPIWG) will chair the discussion.
Contact and Registration
Open to all at the Institute. The event will take place in hybrid format. Zoom link will be sent via MPIWG-Announce one week in advance. Limited spots available for in-person attendance on a “first come, first served” basis; please contact email@example.com to sign up.