Living in Dangerous Times: Huang Zongxi and his Friends

Global China Seminar

Date: Thursday 30 September, 2021, 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Location: AM102, Kelburn Campus, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand

Living in Dangerous Times: Huang Zongxi and his Friends

Duncan Campbell

Towards the very end of his long and prolific life, the influential (and loyalist) late-Ming/early-Qing thinker and historian Huang Zongxi 黃宗羲 (1610-1695) turned his mind to the experiences of his own difficult life and the network of men that had sustained him over the years.

His brief biographical accounts of these friends and acquaintances, some 117 of them, all dead by the time Huang memorialised them, entitled Recollecting Friends of Old: A Record (Sijiu lu 思舊錄), proved to be his last sustained piece of writing. It is a remarkable text that weaves a collective portrait of the scholarly world of the late imperial period in China during a time of cataclysmic dynastic collapse. On the basis of a translation of this text that he recently completed, Duncan will discuss aspects of Huang’s practice as a biographer and the nature of the friendships that he formed over the course of his life.

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About Duncan Campbell

Duncan M. Campbell has taught Chinese language and literature (classical and modern), history and civilisation at the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Australian National University in Canberra. In 2015-16 he was the June & Simon K.C. Li Director of the Center for East Asian Garden Studies and Curator of the Chinese Garden with The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, USA. Duncan’s 'The Dumbarton Oaks Anthology of Chinese Garden Literature', co-edited with Alison Hardie, was published in 2020.

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