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.

The training aspect of this cluster is aimed at familiarizing students and junior scholars with some general patterns by which one form of knowledge transmission was transformed to another. Through a series of field trips, undertaken in the Wutai shan area and the Jinci museum, student participants were trained in collecting different types of research data (e.g. images, photos) associated with different media, including oral narratives (among religious believers), manuscripts, stone/metal inscriptions, printed texts, and digital texts.

The report from the cluster’s 2018 field visit can be found here.

View digital data collection from the project here.

Cluster 1.1

Affiliated Researchers Associated Researchers
Baycroft, Anne (University of Saskatchewan) – 2017 An, Yi (Chinese University of Hong Kong)  – 2017
Bryson, Megan (University of Tennessee) – 2018 Bass, Emma (Queen’s University)  – 2017
Chen, Jinhua (University of British Columbia) – 2018 Crowther, Alice  (Renmin University) – 2017
Kim, Jongmyung (Academy of Korean Studies) – 2018 Lin, Jiao  (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing) – 2017
Lin, Weiyu (Trinity University) – 2018 Paletskiy, Denis  (Chinese Academy of Social Science) – 2017
Mitchell, Maggie (University of British Columbia) -2017 Tou, MinHui (National Taiwan Normal University)  – 2017
Sun, Mylinda (Tsinghua University) – 2018 Zhang, Bowei  (Wuhan University) – 2017
Sun, Yinggang (Zhejiang University) – 2017 Zhang, Shubin (Chinese Academy of Fine Arts) – 2017
Zhang, Meng (Zhejiang University) – 2018 Zhen, Fan (Fudan University) – 2017
He, Shuyue (McGill University) – 2018
Jing, Ren (Peking University) – 2018
Li, Yier (Fujian Normal University) – 2018
Zhang, Shubin (University of Zhejiang) – 2018
Cluster 1.1

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Mount Wutai 五臺山: 38.935242, 113.643745
Jinci Temple 晋祠: 37.728600, 112.475000
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Mount Wutai 五臺山
Shanxi, China
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Jinci Temple 晋祠
Jinci 山西省, People's Republic of China