People

Mårten Söderblom Saarela

Postdoctoral Fellow (Sep 2018-Aug 2019)

I received my PhD from Princeton University in 2015, and hold an MA in Sinology from the School of Oriental and African Studies. I am a historian of late imperial China, interested in the cultural and intellectual history of language. My dissertation and first research project focused on the Manchu language, particularly its script, and its influence on language studies in Qing China (1644–1911). The Manchu language and its script were nothing like Chinese, but they were used in the Qing empire—of which China was part—as the language of the ruling house and parts of the hereditary military elite until the early twentieth century. During my three and a half years at the MPIWG, I worked primarily on developing aspects of my dissertation into publications of varying scope. More information can be found on the project page.

Projects

Development of Phonology as a Field of Study in Late Imperial China, 1500–1900

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Thinking in Many Tongues

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Manchu and the Study of Language in China

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Selected Publications

Söderblom Saarela, M. (2018). 'Shooting characters': a phonological game and its uses in late imperial China. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 138(2), 327-359.

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Söderblom Saarela, M. (2017). Mandarin over Manchu: court-sponsored Qing lexicography and its subversion in Korea and Japan. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 77(2), 363-406.

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Söderblom Saarela, M. (2016). Alphabets avant la lettre: phonographic experiments in late imperial China. Twentieth-Century China, 41(3), 234-257. doi:10.1080/15215385.2016.1205789.

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Söderblom Saarela, M. (2014). Shape and sound: organizing dictionaries in late Imperial China. Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America, 35, 187-208.

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Events

Reading Group

Thinking in Many Tongues: Lexicography

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The European Invention of the Manchu Alphabet

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