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Past Meetings

Minutes of Past Meetings

In addition to minutes of the business meetings of the Society, many of the minutes below contain bibliographies of recent work in the field.

Recent Minutes

Minutes of 2016 Meeting, Seattle

Society for Ming Studies Membership Meeting April 1, 1016

Minutes respectfully submitted by Sarah Schneewind, Secretary pro tem of the Society.

Thirty-five people attended the meeting in the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, which convened at 8:30 pm.

President Rusk announced the publication of the English translation of Li Guangli’s 1957 History of the Ming Dynasty in the Ming Studies Research Series, available from Amazon.

President Rusk asked attendees to subscribe to the journal to be considered official members and earn all the glory thereunto attendant.

Yuming He and Sixiang Wang were unanimously elected to the Board. The chart of membership on the website, begun by Peter Ditmanson, should be updated to reflect this.

In response to a request by David Rolston, Ming Studies editor Ihor Pidhainy reported that Maney has been bought by Taylor and Francis. What exactly this will mean for us is not yet clear, but if it is a disaster, other companies having been bidding for us. President Rusk asked the members and other present to report to him, to Editor Pidhainy, or to Treasurer Heijdra if there are any problems with access. Rolston stated that his concern came from bad experiences CHINOPERL had had with T & F because it outsources production to India, but some consensus was reached that this may have stemmed from a truly awful flood. The flood cannot, however, explain their unfamiliarity with hanging indents.

A panel entitled “Language in the Ming” was then offered and received an enthusiastic response. “Spoken Mandarin in the Ming,” by Richard V. Simmons, of Rutgers University, showed that “Southern Mandarin” or Nanyin/guanhua, the lingua franca of Ming, characterized by 5 instead of 4 tones and other features identified in Lan Mao’s 1442 Yunlüe yitong and reflected in Jesuit sources, as Ming Taizu’s mother tongue and that of his generals and soldiers, spread widely after the conquest not only because of the prestige and personnel of the court, but also through military settlements, so that its direct descendents can be indentified in several places throughout China, each tied to a specific event or policy that sent soldiers to dwell there.

Catherine Swatek spoke on “Dialect in Kun Opera,” specifically in manuscripts associated with Li Yu’s early-Qing “Ten Thousand Li Reunion,” the paintings of which have been studied by Elizabeth Kindall.  The manuscripts have text in more than one hand and offer corrections, poses and movements, stage directions, alternative versions of scenes, and added Suzhou dialect conversation. The dialect is spoken by three different role-types. It does not serve one single function, such as just adding comic relief by signalling bumpkin status as one might anticipate. It is not realistic, in the sense that it is not put in “local” mouths, but it used in various ways and in different situations to set up an us versus them dynamic. Questions and complications abound in these fascinating texts. Swatek plans to work further with living performers.

“Language and Empire: Asymmetries of Knowledge/Power in Early Modern China-Korea Relations” by Wang Sixiang opened with references to Said, Scott, and Mary Louise Pratt, and argued that while domination has been taken to mean that the center knows more about the locality than the locality about the center, the reverse was true in the Ming/Chosŏn relationship, for a number of reasons including the long-term relationship, effective Korean appropriation of metropolitan ideology, scattered Ming policy attention, and the fact that Ming’s potentially overwhelming force made it far more necessary for the Chosŏn side to understand than for the Ming side. Chosŏn bore the burden of maintaining communication, including providing and training interpreters, inventing Hangul to learn how to pronounce guanhua, creating primers, sending frequent embassies, and sending eunuchs to court and keeping up relations with them to gain information. Until the disastrous invasion by Hideyoshi, Chosŏn more or less managed to keep Ming at arm’s length, dissuading the rare Ming envoy from crossing the river and managing conversations to avoid miscommunication. This policy of staying under the radar enabled the Chosŏn side to stay safe. Wang argues that “the tributory system was actually crafted and maintained by the Chosŏn side” both in personnel and ideas. If Ming indeed had a concerted foreign policy, it was not one that the deeply invested Chosŏn state could perceive, so we probably won’t be able to, either.

With the end of meeting, the Presidency of the Society transferred to Anne Gerritsen.

Minutes of 2015 Meeting, Chicago

Minutes of the annual meeting of the Society of Ming Studies, March 27 2015

Submitted by Acting Secretary Sarah Schneewind

  • Outgoing President Joe Dennis welcomed everyone and urged all to subscribe to the journal and thus become members, even though we have plenty of money. He noted that we might do a conference if we continue to be in funds. He announced that the Geiss foundation has money for book subventions, and that the Society does sponsor AAS panels. He urged all to send their biographies or updates for the website to webmaster and incoming President Bruce Rusk at UBC.
  • The members and visitors present introduced themselves.
  • Desmond Cheung is the new book review editor for the journal and urged all to let him know about their interests so he can solicit reviews.
  • Journal editor Ihor Pidhainy reported that Maney is pretty happy with us at 219 subscribers, and that we are being read: there were 5600 downloads in 2014 of which the US and Canada accounted for only 40%, so we are reaching a world-wide audience.
  • Elections were held. Anne Gerritsen was unanimously elected as the next President (to take office in two years). Du Yongtao, Li Yuhang, and Brigid Vance were elected as At-Large board members. Sarah Basham was elected as Graduate Student Representative.
  • Ann Waltner introduced the evening’s panel by asking how we look at objects and what they can tell us that is different from what we learn from texts. What questions should we ask? And how can historians or scholars generally get better at thinking about material culture? Are history and art history moving in parallel directions? Yuhang Li gave a paper entitled “Mimicking Guanyin through Hairpins as a Means of Transcendence.” Jinhui Han gave a paper on the practices of placing tin utensils in Ming tombs. Anne Gerritsen gave a presentation on Ming objects in ethnographic museums, and the different ways they appear there from in art museums. Discussion followed these very interesting papers, which amply demonstrated the ways in which intelligent consideration of material objects can teach us things we simply could not know from texts, and the meeting adjourned.

Minutes of 2014 Annual Meeting, Philadelphia

  • President Joe Dennis called the meeting to order and announced that a new event–a reception hosted by the Society, with the support of the Geiss Foundation–would take place on Saturday evening at 8:15 pm
  • Stephen McDowell announced an exhibit on the Ming, recently in Amsterdam, would soon be moving to Edinburgh (June-October) and reminded members of the upcoming exhibit on the early fifteenth century at the British Museum.
  • Editor Ihor Pidhainy encouraged lapsed or new members to subscribe to Ming Studies–issues with subscriptions through the Maney website now seem to be resolved–and to submit manuscripts
  • Leo Shin announced that he will soon be updating his online guide to research on the Ming
  • Panel on SE Asia

Minutes before 2013

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