A Cultural History of Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China

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University of California Press, 22 thg 3, 2000 - 889 trang
In this multidimensional analysis, Benjamin A. Elman uses over a thousand newly available examination records from the Yuan, Ming, and Ch'ing dynasties, 1315-1904, to explore the social, political, and cultural dimensions of the civil examination system, one of the most important institutions in Chinese history. For over five hundred years, the most important positions within the dynastic government were usually filled through these difficult examinations, and every other year some one to two million people from all levels of society attempted them.

Covering the late imperial system from its inception to its demise, Elman revises our previous understanding of how the system actually worked, including its political and cultural machinery, the unforeseen consequences when it was unceremoniously scrapped by modernist reformers, and its long-term historical legacy. He argues that the Ming-Ch'ing civil examinations from 1370 to 1904 represented a substantial break with T'ang-Sung dynasty literary examinations from 650 to 1250. Late imperial examinations also made "Tao Learning," Neo-Confucian learning, the dynastic orthodoxy in official life and in literati culture. The intersections between elite social life, popular culture, and religion that are also considered reveal the full scope of the examination process throughout the late empire.
 

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Rethinking the Historical Roots of Late Imperial Civil Examinations
5
Imperial Power Cultural Politics and Civil Examinations in the Early Ming
70
Institutional Dynamics and Mobilization of Elites in Late Imperial Civil Examinations
129
Examination Compounds and the Limits of Dynastic Power
177
Classical Literacy and the Social Dimensions of Late Imperial Civil Examinations
243
Emotional Anxiety Dreams of Success and the Examination Life
299
The Cultural Scope of Civil Examinations and the EightLegged Essay among Elites
375
Examiner Standards Literati Interpretation and Limits to the Dynastic Control of Knowledge
425
Delegitimation and Decanonization The Pitfalls of Late Ching Examination Reform
573
Civil Examination Primary Sources 11481904 1042 Reports
631
Civil Examination Primary Sources in the Mormon Genealogical Library
645
Tables
650
Timelines for Civil Examination Curriculum Change 6501905
733
Major Types of Civil Examination Sources besides Gazetteers
742
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES
745
INDEX
799

Natural Studies History and Han Learning in Civil Examinations
464
Acceleration of Curricular Reform under Ching Rule before 1800
525

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Benjamin A. Elman is Professor of Chinese History and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles; from 1999 to 2001 he will be a Visiting Professor at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is author of Classicism, Politics, and Kinship: The Ch'ang-chou School of New Text Confucianism in Late Imperial China (California, 1990; Chinese edition, 1998) and coeditor of Education and Society in Late Imperial China, 1600-1900 (California, 1994).

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