Lecture | Warfare, Interstate Relations and Unification of China in 221 BCE

Speaker: Zhao Dingxin (赵鼎新)

Host: Lu Yang (陆扬)

Theme: Warfare, Interstate Relations and Unification of China in 221 BCE

Time: 19:00 – 20:30

Date: October 16 (Wednesday), 2019

Venue: Room B101, Second Gymnasium, Yenching Academy, Peking University

Language: English


In this talk, Professor Zhao Dingxin will argue that frequent and inconclusive wars among feudal states during the Spring Autumn & Warring States era (770-221 BC) propelled a quick social development, including the rise of monetary economy, urban centers, bureaucracy and philosophies (Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism . . .). However, without strong checking from societal forces, this war-driven dynamism was harnessed by the state power and led to the rise of a unified Legalist state (Qin), with its brutality brought to its quick demise. In the aftermath, we see the rise of a Confucian state with its rule legitimized by Confucianism and supported by Confucian scholars. This crystallization merged political and ideological actors, marginalized economic and military actors, and shaped entire history of imperial China.


Dingxin Zhao is Max Palevsky Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and director of the Center for Advanced Studies of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zhejiang University. His research covers historical sociology, political sociology, social movements, social change and economic development. His interests also extend to sociological theory and methodology. Zhao has publications in journals such as American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, American Behavioral Scientist, Social Forces, Mobilization, and Sociology. He is the author of award-winning The Power of Tiananmen (2001) and The Confucian-Legalist State (2015) and several other books in Chinese.

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