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CCCC: Dorothy Ko The Material Power of Stone in Writing

Friday, October 4, 2019 at 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Rockefeller Hall, 374
Central Campus

The Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium (CCCC) is honored to host Professor Dorothy Ko, of Barnard College to lead this month's text reading titled, The Material Power of Stone in Writing.

Abstract: The circulation of what Chandra Mukerji calls “the logistical and epistemic culture of working”( in her book Impossible Engineering) in nineteenth-century China is an important story in the development of capitalism and statecraft in early modern China. Geographer Li Zhaoluo (1769-1841)’s investigation of the financial and labor requirements of mining Duan inkstones in Zhaoqing, Guangdong, exemplifies the “material power” from stone which is manifest in a new genre of writing. We explore the precise language and rhetorical strategies of Li’s 1808 essay and trace its circulation as an image-text on the back of an inkstone made in about the same time.


1. Li Zhaoluo李兆洛, “Duanxi yankeng ji端溪硯坑記,” 1808, reprinted in Huang Binhong 黃賓虹and Deng Shi鄧實, eds., Meishu congshu美術叢書, v.1 (Nanjing: Jiangsu guji chubanshe, 1997), pp. 82-85 [pdf name = CCC text 1, Li, Duanxi yanking ji]

2. Anon., “Laokeng neitu老坑內圖” and inscriptions on the back of an inkstone, c. early 19th century, collection of the Tianjin Museum [pdf name = CCC text 2, Laokeng neitu]

CCCC is a reading group for students and scholars with interest in premodern Sinographic text.

All are welcome, at any level of experience with classical Chinese.

At each session, one participant presents a text in classical Chinese. Attendees discuss historical, literary, linguistic, and other aspects of the text, and work together to resolve difficulties in comprehension and translation.

Presentations include works of all sorts, from the earliest times to the twentieth century.

No preparation required: all texts will be distributed at the meeting.


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East Asia Program, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell China Center



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Amala Lane

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Dorothy Ko

Speaker Affiliation

Barnard College

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

wheel-chair accessible; other accessibility needs addressed with advance notice

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