State Power in China, 900-1325

Edited by Patricia Buckley Ebrey and Paul Jakov Smith

  • Published: 2016. Paperback March 2019
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies / China; History
  • Bibliographic information: 372 pp., 19 bandw illus., 5 maps, 28 tables, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

This collection provides new ways to understand how state power was exercised during the overlapping Liao, Song, Jin, and Yuan dynasties. Through a set of case studies, State Power in China, 900-1325 examines large questions concerning dynastic legitimacy, factional strife, the relationship between the literati and the state, and the value of centralization. How was state power exercised? Why did factional strife periodically become ferocious? Which problems did reformers seek to address? Could subordinate groups resist the state? How did politics shape the sources that survive?

The nine essays in this volume explore key elements of state power, ranging from armies, taxes, and imperial patronage to factional struggles, officials' personal networks, and ways to secure control of conquered territory. Drawing on new sources, research methods, and historical perspectives, the contributors illuminate the institutional side of state power while confronting evidence of instability and change-of ways to gain, lose, or exercise power.
Patricia Buckley Ebrey is professor of history at the University of Washington. She is the author of Accumulating Culture: The Collections of Emperor Huizong. Paul Jakov Smith is professor of history at Haverford College. He is coeditor of The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History. The other contributors are Elad Alyagon, Song Chen, Charles Hartman, Li Huarui, Tracy Miller, Jaeyoon Song, and Cong Ellen Zhang

"The editors position this collection in the historiography, describing general trends in historical scholarship over the past several decades that swung between political-institutional history and sociocultural history and back again. This collection represents a return to political-institutional history, or at least a trend toward studying the 'state' in its many guises and from multiple perspectives."
-Linda Walton, author of Academies and Society in Southern Sung China

"All the essays included in this volume are of a high scholarly caliber and are from different disciplines-art history, literary studies, institutional history, political thought, and social history. State Power in China is about how political power is constructed, propagated, channeled, contested, exercised, and formulated."
-Peter Bol, author of "Reconceptualizing the Order of Things in Northern and Southern Sung," in the Cambridge History of China vol. 5, part 2

"This marvelous collection provides a wealth of new perspectives on the role of the state in China between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. From the court to the periphery, from the emperor to the lowliest soldier, the nine important essays elucidate the connections that bound state and society together, and expose the forces of disintegration that constantly threatened social and political order. State Power in China is a must-read not only for students of the Song, but also for anyone interested in state-society relations in Chinese history."
-Beverly Bossler, editor of Gender and Chinese History