Workshop on Local Primary Sources on Late Imperial China (900-1900),
organized by Michela Bussotti and Joseph McDermott


From 19 to 23 September, 2016 a workshop dedicated to the study of local primary sources on late imperial China (900-1900) was held in Cambridge. Organised by the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Cambridge Humanities Reasearch Grants) and with the support of PSL ("FOEs-Chine" Program), of the French Schoold of Asian Studies (EFEO) and of the UMR 8173 - China, Korea, Japan (CNRS-EHESS), this workshop was dedicated to encourage collaboration between research students and teachers in Cambridge and Paris.
The September's workshop dealt with the great amount of primary source documentation from this long period of Chinese history that even if still unpublished has now been made available for study. Few European researchers have had the training to read these often technical sources with confidence, and this workshop was in part designed to help them overcome this problem. For five consecutive days scholars from both Cambridge and Paris led in turn the workshop's other participants through a careful reading and analysis of instructive examples of primary sources, such as lay associations' bylaws, legal cases, wills, contracts, account books, religious associations' records, water control inscriptions and genealogies. By the end of the week participants read these documents independently and, moreover, they had a sense of how to use them creatively in research on all sorts of historical and cultural issues. The workshop was intended at least as much to foster fresh ways of thinking about historical methods and methodology as about reading historical sources accurately.

Two sessions held every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, focused as much on analysis as on translation headed by one of the Cambridge or Paris experts The participating teachers included Alain Arrault, Michela Bussotti, Adam Chau, Claude Chevaleyre, Imre Galambos, François Gipouloux, Christian Lamouroux, and Joseph McDermott. Participants received in advance annotated copies of the texts, so that all has been able to contribute to the reading and discussion of each document. The workshop was designed for all to learn and teach together.

To access the web pages of the Workshop, click here