Northwestern Events Calendar


Professor Griet Vankeerberghen (McGill University): "Mobility and the Consolidation of Empire: The Case of a Local Official during Late Western Han"

Cropping of Chinese scroll

When: Thursday, April 14, 2022
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Kresge Hall, 1515, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Blaze Marpet  

Group: Global Antiquities

Co-Sponsor: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


In 1993 the tomb of Shi Rao, a low-level local official working for the Governor of the Donghai commandery who died in 10 BCE, was discovered at Yinwan in Jiangsu province. It contained a wealth of documents written on bamboo slips or wooden boards. The talk will examine these documents from the perspective of mobility, conceived broadly: as physical travel through a landscape; as movement up and down social and professional hierarchies; as the journey from life to death. That Shi Rao was an agent in the complex web of movements of persons and documents steered from the imperial capital in Chang’an has long been recognized. But he also participated in local networks of kinship, friendship and knowledge that were equally reliant on mobility. The talk will discuss how and where mobility of the local and the global type intersect, and examine their mutual interdependence. 


Griet Vankeerberghen (Ph.D. Princeton University) is Associate Professor at the Department of History and Classical Studies of McGill University. She has published on several Western Han texts and their social, political and material contexts, including the Huainanzi, Shiji, Shangshu dazhuan and the Four Lost Classics. She co-edited Chang’an 26 BCE: An Augustan Age in China with Michael Nylan (UW Press, 2015), and Rulers and Ruled in Ancient Greece, Rome, and China with Hans Beck (CUP, 2021). She is coordinator of Global Antiquities, part of McGill’s Yan P. Lin Centre for Freedom and Global Orders in the Ancient and Modern Worlds.

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