The Cambridge History of Ancient China: Twenty Years On

About the Conference:

In 1999, Cambridge University Press published The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C., a volume which combined both traditional historical records and the most recent archaeological discoveries to produce a comprehensive history of the period beginning with China’s first written records in the Shang dynasty (c. 1200 B.C.) and extending through to the establishment of the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C. In the West, this volume has been regarded as a benchmark in the study of ancient China. In China, perhaps because it has never been translated into Chinese, the volume has taken on an almost mythical status, regularly hailed as a milestone in the Western study of China. 2019 marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the book. Not only have these twenty years brought ever more archaeological discoveries, but they have also brought greater sophistication in their treatment by the most recent generation of scholars in both the West and in China. This conference will bring together these scholars to evaluate both the book and the current state of the field.

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