China and Inner Asia
Broadly defined as platforms of texts, textual media can provoke creative definitions of such concepts as “reading,” “writing,” and “book.” Often associated with digital products like email, webpage, and messaging, textual media have been discussed mainly in the context of a modern society. Believing that studies of textual media should not be confined to the digital era, however, our panel takes a border-crossing, interdisciplinary perspective to explore textual media in early modern East Asia. We argue that by experimenting with material, paratextual, and textual components of books, people in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century China and Korea made strong claims in cultural, social, and political arenas.
The presenters examine how the experiments with textual media shaped and were shaped by contemporary socio-cultural landscape. Focusing on the materiality of literary production, Jamie Jungmin Yoo demonstrates how the practice of compiling encyclopedias re-positioned a literary canon in history and evaluated the value through the networks of textual exegesis in 17th-century Korea. Centering on the performative nature and paratextual strategy of “Banter and Laughter” chapters in daily-use encyclopedias published in late Ming China, Hanping Li reflects contemporary jokes as social knowledge and entertainment guides for performative practices. Focusing on the xylography of collections of dramatic scenes in the late Ming, Yihui Sheng excavates the theatrical experiences centered on scenes rather than full-length plays. Xin Yu’s study on family genealogies shows that by modifying the structure and format of the age-old genealogy genre, Ming-era local elites established the patrilineage as the fundamental unit of social organization.
Virtual Paper Presenter: Jamie Jungmin Yoo – Yonsei University
Virtual Paper Presenter: Hanping Li – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Virtual Paper Presenter: Yihui Sheng – University of Michigan
Virtual Paper Presenter: Xin Yu – Washington University in St Louis