Debates over the Zuo Tradition in Early Medieval China

October 30, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mānoa Campus, Moore Hall, Room 109, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Add to Calendar

This talk traces the intellectual history of the Zuo Tradition (compiled ca. 4th c. BCE) based on the lectur- er’s book manuscript, The Rocky Road to Canonization: History of the Zuo Tradition and Its Commentaries from 100 BCE–600 CE. The Zuo Tradition is the earliest Chinese text to narrate the political history of ancient China and is still regarded today as an exquisite piece of belles lettres that dramatizes historical events. However, the focus of the lecture’s discussion is not on the historical or literary value of the text in the modern sense, but rather on how early medieval Chinese scholars themselves conceptualized, discussed, and argued over the text. The central question of the book is: who conferred what kinds of authority on the Zuo Tradition at each stage of its history leading up to its canonization in the early Tang? This lecture will examine the intersection between politics and scholarship to seek to answer this question, while highlighting a succession of key personalities de- bating each other against changing historical and political contexts. Through this exercise, we will also come to appreciate the classical commentarial form not so much as an attempt to arrive at the original meaning of texts, but as a vehicle for a community of scholars to respond to contemporary political and scholastic concerns.

Pauli Tashima holds a PhD in Chinese (literature) from the U of California at Berkeley. Most recently, she was Assistant Professor of Chinese at the U of North Carolina at Greensboro (2013–19). She has published articles on Zuo Tradition commentaries in Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR) and the Journal of the American Oriental Society. She now resides in Honolulu. Contact her at: ptashima@berkeley.eduTashima, independent scholar

Ticket Information
Free Admission

Event Sponsor
Center for Chinese studies; Asian Studies Program, Mānoa Campus

More Information
Jialin Sun, (808) 956-2663,,

Share by email