TITLE: Despotism, Market and Confucianism in the Age of Wang Yang-Ming
SPEAKER: Ying-shih Yu
EVENT DATE: 11/03/2005
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 50 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Ying-shih Yu, senior distinguished scholar at the John W. Kluge Center, discussed "Despotism, Market and Confucianism in the Age of Wang Yang-Ming (1472-1529)." According to Yu, despotism, trade and Confucianism were the three major historical forces simultaneously at work in 16th century China. Taking Wang Yang-Ming, the leading Confucian thinker of the Ming dynasty, and his new Confucian project as the main focus, Yu examined how the interplay of the political, socioeconomic and cultural forces eventually led to some fundamental changes in social structure and in the reorientation of ideas and values in Confucianism.
Speaker Biography: Born in Qianshan, Anhui Province, China, Ying-shih Yu came to the United States after graduating from New Asia College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and received his doctorate in history from Harvard University in 1962. He has had a distinguished career as a researcher, historian and teacher at Harvard, Yale, the University of Michigan and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. At the time of his retirement in 2001, he was the Gordon Wu Professor of Chinese Studies and professor of history and East Asian studies at Princeton University. One of the world's authorities on the Tang Dynasty, Yu has researched and written extensively on every period of Chinese history, from ancient to modern. He is highly regarded in China and respected not only for his scholarship but also for his criticism of the Communist regime. Among his many published works are the following written in English: "The Power of Culture: Studies in Chinese Cultural History" (coedited with Willard J. Peterson and Andrew Plaks, 1994); "The Two Worlds of the Red Chamber Dream" (1978); "Trade and Expansion in Han China: A Study in the Structure of Sino-Barbarian Economic Relations" (1967); and "American-Chinese Relations, 1784-1941" (with Robert Irick and Kwang-ching Liu, 1960).