264 pages | 13 B/W Illus.
This book, based on extensive original research, provides evidence that the practice originated much earlier than previously understood. It shows that in the eleventh century, in southern China under the Song dynasty, the method of compiling a genealogy in the form a table, that is to say a family tree, replaced its statement as a textual paragraph and that this allowed the tracking of multi-line descent in ways that had previously been impossible.
1. Introduction Part 1. Jiangxi 2. Turning local, turning literary 3. Economic boom and its limitations Part 2. Tracing lineages 4. Naming versus co-residence 5. Writing down the genealogy 6. The lineage made real Part 3. Imagining communities 7. Impetus from religion 8. Loyalty in the Song-Yuan Transition 9. Taxation and land ownership from the Song to the Ming 10. The lineage as ideology in the Ming 11. Conclusion: The elite and the rest
Historians are being increasingly attracted by the methodology of historical anthropology, an approach which combines observations in the field with documentary analysis, both of official documents and of documents collected from local society. In China, historians have been pursuing such local historical research for a generation, with very little of this work being available in English hitherto. This series makes available in English research undertaken by the Historical Anthropology of Chinese Society project based at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and related work. The books argue that top-heavy, dynasty-centred history is incomplete without an understanding of how local communities were involved in the government process and in the creation of their own historical narratives. The books argue that Chinese social history needs to be rewritten from the bottom up.