Chen Gazetteers MPIWG

Distribution of the 2,000 local monographs of the dabase Zhongguo Fangzhiku, batch 1 published by Erudition, Beijing. Background map: 1820 China with prefecture boundaries from the China Historical GIS.

Source-Based Initiatives (2014-2023)

Local Gazetteers

Local gazetteers (difangzhi 地方志) have been major primary sources for the study of China’s local history. About 8,000 titles of local gazetteers dating from the tenth to the nineteenth century are still extant, covering almost all well-populated regions of historical China. The authors of local gazetteers were officials and local gentry who delineated the landscape, flora and fauna, local products, temples and schools, officials and celebrities, local culture and customs, and much more. This project unlocks this treasure chest of local riches by transforming textual formats into a scholarly, enhanced database for new forms of digital historical analysis. A set of digital tools has been developed to help historians to quickly extract data from the digitized text, to store and share the produced data with peers as a new form of academic collaboration, and to apply analysis tools (including GIS maps) on the produced data in order to observe patterns on larger scales. We have started extracting and visualizing information on regional products from 2,000 digital local gazetteers to unravel their role in the historical construction of China’s “local materialities.” In the second phase, the project will facilitate comparison of literary with artefactual and environmental evidence. We are especially interested in exploring how the change of scales—by turning local records from individual gazetteers into a single global database—can reshape the study of historical China. 

 

News & Press

Research Workshop/ Conference: Visual Materials in Chinese Local Gazetteers (deadline September 15, 2020)

More

Research Workshop “Chinese Local Gazetteers”—Senior Researchers (Dept. III). 2017

 

More

Wilko Graf von Hardenberg publishes interview with Shih-Pei Chen on Chinese local gazetteers

More

Media and Features

Working Groups

Past Events

Chinese Local Gazetteers: Historical Method and Computerized Data Collection and Analysis

MORE

Chinese Local Gazetteers: Local Materiality in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

MORE

Thematic Cluster: Digital Humanities and Local Gazetteers

MORE

Thematic Cluster: Digital Humanities and Local Gazetteers

MORE

Thematic Cluster: Digital Humanities and Local Gazetteers

MORE

Building Materials in Chinese Local Gazetteers: Brain-Storming

MORE

Chinese Local Gazetteers "Terminology"

MORE

Chinese Local Gazetteers "Terminology“ Public Sessions

MORE

The Schistosomiasis Epidemic and Environmental Change

MORE

Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Early Modern Culture in China, 1500–1800

MORE

Tu (圖) in Local Gazetteers

MORE

From Local Gazetteers Project to Asia Network: Working with Licensed Materials in Digital Humanities

MORE

Weather Events or Climate Change? Yuan Dynasty, Local Gazetteers, and Sericulture

MORE

The Use of the Song Notebooks (biji 筆記) in the Local Gazetteers

MORE

Knowing an Empire: Imperial Science in Early Modern Chinese and Spanish Empires

MORE

What One Should Know about a Locality: Analyzing Knowledge Categories from the Chinese Local Gazetteers

MORE

Locality and Geographical Knowledge in Imperial China I

MORE

Locality and Geographical Knowledge in Imperial China II

MORE

Data Collection, Organization, and Presentation in Ming-Qing Local Gazetteers

MORE

Visual Materials in Local Gazetteers

MORE

Visual Materials in Local Gazetteers

MORE

Fenye in Local Gazetteers Workshop

MORE

Projects

Digital Resources

Publications

Chen, Shih-Pei, Calvin Yeh, Sean Wang, and Qun Che (2022). “Treating a Genre as a Database: A Digital Research Methodology for Studying Chinese Local Gazetteers.” International Journal of Digital Humanities, October, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42803-022-00048-5.

Read More

Zhang, Xue (2022). “The Plurality of Reception: Latitude and Longitude in Early Modern China, 1700–1900.” Isis 113 (3): 537–558. https://doi.org/10.1086/721142.

Read More

Lycas, Alexis, Masato Hasegawa, and Chen Shih-Pei 陳詩沛 (2021). “Local Uses of Geographical Knowledge in Imperial China: Introduction to Contributions to the International Workshop held by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Berlin, 29 June to 1 July 2020.” Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies 69 (2): 349–352. https://doi.org/10.1080/02549948.2021.1989777.

Read More

Schäfer, Dagmar, Shih-Pei Chen, and Qun Che (2020). “What is Local Knowledge? Digital Humanities and Yuan Dynasty Disasters in Imperial China’s Local Gazetteers.” Journal of Chinese History 4 (2): 391–429. https://doi.org/10.1017/jch.2020.31.

Read More

Chen, Shih-Pei, Kenneth Hammond, Anne Gerritsen, Shellen Wu, and Jiajing Zhang (2020). “Local Gazetteers Research Tools: Overview and Research Application.” Journal of Chinese History 4 (2): 544–558. https://doi.org/10.1017/jch.2020.26.

Read More

Chen, Shih-Pei (2016). “Remapping Locust Temples of Historical China and the use of GIS (重制陳正祥之蝗神廟分佈圖與淺談 GIS 的使用).” Review of Religion and Chinese Society 3 (2): 149–163. https://doi.org/10.1163/22143955-00302002.

Read More

 

Social Media

Digihum Humanities MPIWG History China

Blog Post: Elites, Networks, and Power in Modern China

Pierre Magistry on applying natural language processing (NLP) to Chinese local gazetteers.

READ MORE

 

MPIWG China Digital Humanities Digihum

Blog Post: Ant, Spider, Bee

Shih-Pei Chen on Ant, Spider, Bee: "Material Network Analysis."

READ MORE

Digihum Gazetteers digital humanities medium.com

Blog Post: Roots and Branches

Ian Miller on Medium.com blog, Roots and Branches: "Footprint of the Capitals."

READ MORE

 

Chen_Deptiii_Local_Gazetteers_digihum_youtube.

Presentation: YouTube

Gregory Scott on Youtube, "Survey of Religious Reconstruction in Modern China."

GO TO VIDEO