The Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society

Funding approved: HK$23.447M

Indicative project time-frame: 2010–2017

This project adopts the multi-disciplinary approach of historical anthropology to study Chinese history. Drawing on historical documents and field research, the project looks into regional variations in China over the past 1,000 years. While different parts of China are unified under the Chinese state, many social and cultural changes had evolved locally and independently. Meanwhile, similarities may be related to the history of the incorporation of different geographical areas into the Chinese state and the administrative arrangements by which they were incorporated. This project studies 15 geographic areas in China to recover the history of both how a local society acquires and identifies with its own characteristics, and how it is incorporated into, and accepted, the broad expanse of a unified culture. The project team documents local ritual traditions and reconstructs the history of the local institutions in which they were employed.