2006 Minutes

Ming Studies Evening Meeting, 7:00pm., April 7, 2006, AAS Conference, San Francisco, CA

The meeting was called to order by President Sarah Schneewind.

Part I: Society Business

  1. An attendance list was passed around, including an indication of registry on the Minglist. People interested in subscribing, unsubscribing or revising their subscription to the Minglist can find complete instructions at:
  2. Sarah reminded Society members that Ken Hammond, Judith Zeitlin and Sophie Volpp had joined the board of the Society of Ming Studies last year. This year, Ken Swope, Tsing Yuan and Anne Gerritsen would be rotating off the board and that new board members were needed. Lucille Chia, Bruce Rusk and Josh Yiu were nominated and elected to join the board. Sarah indicated that next year one or two new board members would be needed and that Society members should submit suggestions to the board. She also reported that the board continues to have foreign representatives on the board. Harriett Zurndorfer, Leo Shin and Anne McLaren now serve in this capacity. The graduate student representative, Carla Nappi, may be finishing her program this summer, in which case a new graduate student representative will be needed. Responsibilities of board members include attendance at the annual 7:00am board meeting each year at the AAS annual meeting and advising on the enterprises of the Society.
  3. Sarah announced that the topic for next year’s evening meeting will be material culture in the Ming, and she asked that members submit comments and suggestions for possible sub-topics and speakers.
  4. Ted Farmer reported that the budget for the Society is slightly diminished from previous years.
  5. Peter Ditmanson reported that the website is up and running at www.colby.edu/ming/. Kim Besio (kabesio@colby.edu) and/or Peter (pbditman@colby.edu) are the contacts for posting announcements or materials on the website. Peter indicated that there are plans to post translated Ming documents on the website that can be used for teaching purposes. Submissions of materials would be most welcome.
  6. Katie Ryor reported on the Ming Studies journal. Volume 50 is out. The double volume 51-2 will be coming out soon, with a bibliography of Frederick Mote and a bibliography and obituary for Albert Chan. She urged Society members to keep submitting manuscripts, reiterating that illustrations are now possible in the journal. She also encouraged more subscriptions.

Part II: Reports on Recent Scholarship, Publications, and Conferences past and future

  1. Dr. He Zhaohui, Beijing University librarian, Deputy Chief Editor of the Journal of Academic Libraries, and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Early Modern History at the University of Minnesota, gave a presentation on recent Chinese scholarship on Ming China. Dr. He will be a post-doctorate fellow at Harvard University. Dr. He presented the landscape of Chinese scholarship on the place of Ming China in the early modern world. Two important areas of recent work are the socio-economic transitions of the 16th and 17thcenturies, and the voyages of Zheng He. Dr. He kindly submitted his paper and a bibliography of important recent Ming scholarship. The summary of recent trends and bibliography are appended to the minutes.
  2. Martin Heijdra announced that the Princeton text-reading seminar has been postponed until next summer.
  3. Joseph Lam reminded Society members of the international program on “Musicking Men in Late Ming China,” held at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on May 4-7, including a performance of Kunquopera.
  4. Ina Asim reported on the completion of her project on “The Painting of the Lantern Festival in Nanjing.”CDs of the project are available at http://ssil.uoregon.edu/lanterns/html/misc.html.
  5. Anne Gerritsen gave a report on recent scholarship on all things Ming in Europe, noting important scholars in England,Denmark, Netherlands, and Germany. Her report is appended to the minutes.
  6. Ken Swope announced that an international conference on Hideyoshi’s 16thcentury invasion of Koreawill be held in Korea on June 19-22, 2006. Topics will include historical memory, proto-nationalism, and war and peace. Conference plans include the multi-lingual publication of the conference papers.
  7. Jiang Yonglin presented the conference “Ming Taizu and his Times,” held at the Chinese Universityof Hong Kong on March 28-30. The conference included 31 participants from 8 countries. The conference was organized by Chu Hung-lam of the Chinese University and Edward Farmer of the University of Minnesotaand was sponsored by the Chinese University, the Early Modern Center of the University of Minnesota, the Geiss Foundation and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. Panel topics included imperial relations, local society, international relations, statecraft, law, economics and communication, thought and religion, and Taizu’s legacy in the Qing. Plans are in the works for a published conference volume. The website for the conference is at: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/his/conf/ming_taizu/.
  8. Sarah read a statement by Robert Hymes on the loss of Jaret Weisfogel, who passed away last year after a long bout with cancer. His work on the late Ming thinker Guan Zhidao illuminated a complex and important figure in the study of Ming thought. Hymes noted that we may honor Jaret’s memory by reading and understanding his thoughtful and careful scholarship.

Part III: Panel oN Ming Sources

  1. Ken Swope gave a report on his archival research on Ming history in Korea. Ken commented on the Kyujanggak Archives, National Library of Korea,National Archives of Korea, Sungkyunkwan University Academy of East Asian Studies, and the Jinju [Chinju] National Museum and Archives. Ken noted that the websites at these Korean institutions are very useful. He found several of the archives very accessible with convenient photocopying resources and digitized images. The handout of his presentation is appended to the minutes.
  2. Lucille Chia spoke on the utility of genealogies in research. Her own work has focused on genealogies from southern Fujian and the impact on Fujian of the migrations to the Philippines and other regions to the south. Lucille pointed out that this genealogical data is very useful and has been successfully mined by other scholars. The material is most bountiful for the 19thcentury, but also yields some from earlier periods.These genealogies have much material on migration to Taiwan, especially after the Kangxi period, and also information on migrations from Taiwanto southeast Asia. There is also considerable information on internal migration within China, stimulated by international trade. Sojourning merchants are an important category in migration history both inside and outside of China. Lucille indicated that her genealogy work calls for considerable stamina for sitting in Fujian libraries. She is happy to offer help and advice for anyone pursuing this research area.
  3. Joe Dennis spoke about important considerations in the use of gazetteers as research tools. He noted that it is important when using a gazetteer to know who edited and produced it and how it was distributed. In the last five years, there have been several new series of reprinted gazetteers, put out by the Nanjing Library, the Beijing National Library, Harvard-Yenching, and others. Several of these collections include Ming gazetteers.
    Joe pointed out that while a gazetteer may exist only in fragmentary form in one series, it is always possible to find a more complete version in a different series. Fragments of gazetteers have been gathered in numerous sources. One 2004 series has reconstituted Ming gazetteers from the Yongle dadian. Fragments have also been found in collected literary works and in genealogies (considerable transfer of data back and forth between gazetteers and genealogies).
    In recent years, numerous electronic versions of gazetteers have appeared. The National Library of China has digitized several gazetteers, but reading them is slow and requires downloading special software. The Academia Sinica has a growing database that includes all Song and Yuan gazetteers and gazetteers on Taiwan. This database is available only by subscription, however. A few US institutions have subscribed, including Princeton, Stanford, and the UC system.
    New gazetteers have appeared on the internet with much useful information, though not as much Ming information. These gazetteers do often include earlier gazetteer prefaces as well as information on recent excavations. These online gazetteers are often useful for planning research trips.
    Joe recommended that before consulting a gazetteer, one should look over the structure carefully, as sections were not standardized. Maps are often placed in the front, but not always. Some sections are broken up by county; others are not. Dating of gazetteers is not reliable. Gazetteers need to be regarded as “living documents” with materials changing between the official revisions. Joe cautioned that often gazetteers have supplements added long after the original publication, making it appear as though this material was in the gazetteer originally. Postfaces often give information on editions and supplements.
    The audience added other observations on gazetteers, including the unreliable quoting of earlier gazetteers by later gazetteers. There was a suggestion that checking the events and disasters sections of gazetteers often give additional clues on dating. It was suggested that a wikipedia of gazetteers be compiled.

Ted made a motion to adjourn the meeting. All seconded.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Ditmanson, Secretary for the Society of Ming Studies

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