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Not Seeing Like an Emperor: The Ambiguity of Trust in Early China
Trenton Wilson - Postdoctoral Associate in East Asian Studies and Lecturer in History

This talk examines debates about the visibility and invisibility of the emperor and imperial institutions as a site for thinking about the meaning of trust (xin) in early China. I argue that these debates can be fruitfully organized around two paradigms, what I call the invisible seer paradigm and the visibly blind paradigm. These two paradigms organize many discussions, but this talk will focus on two sites: ritual and law. In both places there was a struggle to articulate the proper balance between sight and blindness revealing the ambiguity of xin in early China.

Nov 16, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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