Cornell University

During the spring semester, in-person concerts, events and lectures that involve outside guests will not be held, per the university’s COVID-19 travel and visitor policy.

This is a past event. Its details are archived for historical purposes.

The contact information may no longer be valid.

Please visit our current events listings to look for similar events by title, location, or venue.

Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium with Meir Shahar

Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 10:00am to 12:00pm

Virtual Event

Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium with Meir Shahar, Tel Aviv University

Description of Texts for the Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium

Written materials from late-imperial rural China are relatively rare.  I have chosen two specimens for the Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium.  The first is the diary of a temple association from Shanxi Province.  The second is a ritual text that likely originated in Guizhou province. 

The two texts alike were written by people who received no more than rudimentary education, and as such, they shed light on the functional literacy that was enjoyed by at least some late-imperial villagers.  It is fascinating to see how these villagers manipulated the limited number of characters with which they were familiar to write relatively complex and informative texts.  The linguistic interest of these texts is joined by their social, economic, cultural, and religious significance.  The texts offer rare insights into the social organization, financial activities, cultural performances, and religious beliefs of late-imperial villagers. 


Meir Shahar, Brief Bio

Meir Shahar is the Shoul N. Eisenberg Chair for East Asian Affairs at Tel Aviv University.  He received his undergraduate degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and his PhD from Harvard University.  His research interests cover the fields of Chinese religion and literature, Chinese martial-arts history, the impact of Indian mythology upon Chinese culture and, most recently, Chinese animal studies. 

Meir Shahar is the author of several monographs including: Crazy Ji: Chinese Religion and Popular Literature; Oedipal God: The Chinese Nezha and his Indian Origins; and the Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts, which has been translated into numerous languages.  He is the coeditor of several volumes including: Unruly Gods: Divinity and Society in China; India in the Chinese Imagination: Myth, Religion, and Thought; Chinese and Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism; and Animals and Human Society in Asia


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

All are welcome, at any level of experience with classical Chinese. Please email us to register and receive the log-in credentials.

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.

Dial-In Information


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, History, East Asia Program, Asian American Studies Program, Global Learning, Cornell China Center



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Amala Lane


Meir Shahar

Speaker Affiliation

Tel Aviv University

Dept. Web Site

Open To


Recent Activity