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China and Inner Asia
In Session: New Views on the “Conquest Dynasties”
2: Beyond the "Conquerors" and "Conquered" Dichotomy: A Social Network Analysis of the Yuan Dynasty Officials
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
Academy of Korean Studies, Republic of Korea
This presentation provides an analysis of the officials of the Yuan dynasty, based on an analyzing the relationships as seen in the Statutes and Precedents of the Yuan Dynasty (Yuandianzhang 元典章), a collection of government documents published in 1322 by a private publisher. Former scholarship on the Yuan officials have mostly focused on detailed biographical studies of key individuals, and have often emphasized the conflict between two groups, namely the Han and non-Han (or the “conquerors” and “conquered”). For example, discussions on the reign of Ayurbarwarda (r. 1311-1320) has centered on the conflict between the Mongol faction represented by Temüder (? - 1322) and the more Han / Han cultural appreciating faction centered around Li Meng 李孟 (1255-1321). However, a social network analysis reveals that the two different groups worked quite closely with each other and that some unknown individuals played a way more important role than has been noticed. By expanding the scope of analysis, this paper will provide different perspectives on understanding the relationships among individuals from various backgrounds. In addition to identifying the possibilities (and potential limitations) of the application of social network analysis on pre-modern Chinese history, this research will also highlight the new opportunities in approaching and understanding the political history of the Yuan beyond the Han and non-Han conflict.