Cluster Leader:

Yinggang Sun (Zhejiang University) – 2017

Chen Jinhua (UBC) – 2018

This cluster project examines ways in which the transition from manuscript to print and the development of a range of technologies and reading techniques in premodern Asia may inform our understanding of the current global transition from print to digital media. We will focus on transformations in the culture of writing and reading in East Asia as a “distant mirror” (in the words of the European medievalist Barbara Tuchman) to reflect on current developments in the digital humanities and our changing relationships to texts.

Today, as education moves toward online platforms and newspapers are replaced by blogs, we are experiencing a change not unlike the one faced by our counterparts in medieval East Asia when print took hold amid a strong and enduring culture of manuscripts. Lacking a central authority, today we produce, edit, and distribute online texts that in their fluidity recall the hand-copied productions of our predecessors. At the same time, the printed book, particularly the printed codex, presaged some fundamental revolutions brought about by the internet-based “hypermedia”: an expandable network of sharing and distributing information stored in and transmitted through a specific medium.

While considering reading, writing, and media today alongside Asian traditions of the past, we will also look ahead toward ways of preserving and transmitting the past, including demonstrations of digitization in the fields of education, library studies, journalism, history, literature, and religion.


Affiliated Researchers Associated Researchers
Ross King, University of British Columbia Jinhua Chen, University of British Columbia
Christina Laffin, University of British Columbia Michael Friedrich, University of Hamburg
Carla Nappi, University of British Columbia Bhikshu Huimin, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA)
Yong Wang, Harvard University Jinhua Jia, University of Macau
George Keyworth, University of Saskatchewan
Lori Meeks, University of Southern California
Masahiro Shimoda, University of Tokyo
Jiang Wu, University of Arizona
Cluster 1.1

loading map - please wait...

Mount Wutai : 38.935242, 113.643745
Jinci Temple 晋祠: 37.728600, 112.475000
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Mount Wutai
Shanxi, China
marker icon
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Jinci Temple 晋祠
Jinci 山西省, People's Republic of China