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Title: The way and the glory : a study of Zhou Dunyi shrines in the Southern Song (1127-1279)
Author: Ahn, Thomas Dongsob
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 6377
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis studies 130 cases of establishment and refurbishment of shrines dedicated to a Chinese philosopher, Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤 (1017-73), in the Southern Song (1127-1279). About 100 years after his death, this philosopher was reinvented as the founding father of Neo-Confucianism and shrines to him were founded in all corners of the empire. The thesis investigates who sought to dedicate shrines to Zhou and who declined to do so; why they did so; and what the significance for each locality of having such a monument was. In the Southern Song, localities actively sought to connect themselves to famous literati in order to gain a prominence greater than that of other localities. This competition facilitated the spread of literati culture and the consolidation of a previously fragmented Chinese society. Some Neo-Confucian thinkers took this opportunity to promote their movement as well. Through enshrining Zhou Dunyi in different settings, they effectively refashioned the man as their scholarly ancestor and iconised him as the exemplary Confucian literatus. Chapter 1 introduces the main argument and discusses methodologies. Subsequent sections provide brief explanations of pertinent technical terms and theoretical points. Chapter 2 discusses Zhou Dunyi's life, focusing on selected aspects of his life that were most debated and most relevant to his posthumous enshrinement. Chapter 3 investigates the Zhou Dunyi shrines in Southern Song Daozhou and Jiangzhou, two localities that competed for recognition as Zhou Dunyi's true hometown due to his having been born in one and died in the other. The dispute would be settled only when Neo-Confucian dignitaries came out in support of Daozhou's claim. This example shows how the building of the shrines was negotiated and how they were appropriated by local elites who took great pride in them. Chapter 4 studies the lack of Zhou Dunyi shrines in a place where they would be expected to be. Zhenjiang (Runzhou) refrained from establishing any such shrines until as late as 1253. Neo-Confucians shied away from establishing a shrine there. This case shows to what degree Neo-Confucians were involved in Zhou Dunyi shrine projects and in what manner. Chapter 5 explores Guangdong and Guangxi. The prevalence of Zhou Dunyi shrines in this much less developed region belies a standard characterisation of Neo-Confucianism as an ideology for well-educated, affluent, and non-office-holding elites. A selection of cases demonstrates that the region's relatively limited assimilation into mainstream literati culture formed its habitus in favour of the proliferation of Zhou Dunyi shrines. Chapter 6 points to a consequence of the proliferation of Zhou Dunyi shrines in the Song. Localities began to seek distinction by promoting famous local literati, which was possible only on the basis of embracing the new standard of fame shared by other localities-namely, the Sinitic literati culture. This formula, the pursuit of fame on the basis of homogeneous literati culture, contributed to the integration of late imperial Chinese society.
Supervisor: Haar, Barend ter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chinese History