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Department Seminar and New Perspectives: Ina Asim

Tuesday, May 9
3:30-5:00 p.m.
McKenzie 375

Reading the Matrix of Ritual Space

Since antiquity the emperors of China were conceived as mediators between the powers of heaven and the fate of man. This role is represented in the ritualization of space on a micro and a macro level: Just as the design of ceremonial robes donned for ritual performances placed the emperor at the center of the cosmos, the layout of the capital designated the imperial palace and its government precincts as the ritual center of the political realm. This presentation explores two cases that demonstrate how the ancient roots of such ritual representations were used in the legitimization of power in China’s turbulent 20th and 21st centuries.  Both cases signify the consistency of the symbolic power assigned to ritual space since ancient times. 

Ina Asim is an Associate Professor of Chinese History at the University of Oregon. Her research interests include the social and cultural history of the Song, Yuan and Ming periods (960-1644), with a focus on urban spaces and material culture, especially the history of silk textiles and textile technology.