Comparative Perspectives on Rhetorical Narratives
A day-long conference presented in conjunction with the Southern California China Colloquium
Saturday, December 01, 2007
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Organizer: Professor Lisa Raphals (University of California, Riverside)
A great deal of scholarship in recent years has focused on the rhetorical dimensions of historical, philosophical and religious narratives. That scholarship tends to be embedded in one discipline or one genre. A particularly interesting example is the problem of women's biography, which tends to be considered in isolation from other comparable rhetorical narratives. The papers in this panel attempt to open new ground, each examining a rhetorical narrative context through a comparative perspective, with significant attention to how and whether rhetorical narratives can be approached comparatively by genre, by area, or by time period. One session will focus on hagiographies and other biographical narratives. The other will address other comparative aspects of rhetoric.
Morning Panel: Hagiographies and Biographical Narratives
1. Robert Ford Campany (USC), "Hagiographic Persuasions in Early Medieval China"
2. Suzanne Cahill (UC San Diego), "Challenges and Benefits in Using Daoist Hagiographic Narratives as Historical Sources on Women in China: The Case of the Records of the Assembled Transcendents of the Fortified Walled City (910) by Master Du Guangting"
3. Hu Ying (UC Irvine), "Gender and Modern Martyrology: Qiu Jin as Lienü, Lieshi or Nülieshi"
Afternoon Panel: Comparative Aspects of Rhetoric
1. David Schaberg (UCLA), "Narratio as a Technique of Early Chinese Oratory"
2. Lisa Raphals (UC Riverside), "On the Rhetoric of Prediction and Power: Aspects of Divination in Early China and Greece"
Robert Ford Campany, "Hagiographic Persuasions in Early Medieval China"
This paper explores how some early medieval Chinese hagiographic narratives sought to persuade audiences, what they sought to persuade them of, and who the persuaders and the audience were.
Suzanne Cahill, "Challenges and Benefits in Using Daoist Hagiographic Narratives as Historical Sources on Women in China: The Case of the Records of the Assembled Transcendents of the Fortified Walled City (910) by Master Du Guangting"
Hu Ying, "Gender and Modern Martyrology: Qiu Jin as Lienü, Lieshi or Nüliesh"
This paper examines the Qiu Jin case as a prototype of modern martyrology, a genre that has a persistent presence on the Chinese cultural landscape of the long 20th century. This is a period marked by extraordinary violence, haunted by countless traumatic deaths, and saw generations of young people brought up on martyr stories that celebrate “good deaths,” of which Qiu Jin is perhaps one of the most well-known. My motivating questions are: what is the link between the modern nationalist need for martyr commemoration and the pre-modern tradition of martyrs? And if there is a link, what happens to the distinctly gendered aspect of late imperial martyrs? My basic thesis is that despite the radical critique of “traditional morality” associated with the May Fourth generation, a good deal of the same morality was recuperated, and this recuperation is most dramatically and effectively conducted through the sanctity of revolutionary martyrs.
David Schaberg, "Narratio as a Technique of Early Chinese Oratory"
The narratio, or retelling of the facts of a case, was a crucial element both in Greek and Roman forensic oration and in the training of young orators. In the earliest extant historical work in the European tradition, the Histories of Herodotus, narration was also the chosen medium for an investigation (historia) into causes and culpability (aitia) in the Persian War. Early Chinese texts relating to oratory (such as the "Chu shui" chapters of the Han Feizi) suggest that Chinese pedagogy also stressed a mastery of narrative technique and of a corpus of narrative examples. The high frequency of anecdotal narratives in the speeches and essays attributed to the pre-Qin and Han zhuzi or Masters, along with the large number of commonplace narratives, further suggests that this emphasis on narrative as a means of demonstration was broadly influential in the development of philosophical argumentation.
This paper is a consideration of the Chinese anecdotal narrative specifically as a feature of oratorical practical and training, and further of the implications of anecdote's oratorical history for the creation of long-form historical texts such as the Shiji.
Lisa Raphals, "On the Rhetoric of Prediction and Power: Aspects of Divination in Early China and Greece"
This paper examines rhetorical aspects of the practice of divination in China and Greco-Roman antiquity during two periods in which the practice of divination became an important aspect of the legitimation of state power. After periods of relative independence from both political authority and political patronage, divination came under the sway of a powerful and centralized imperium in both Qin-Han China and Hellenistic Greece and Rome. Reemergent political authority, new uses of divination based on them, and new rhetorics of divination, provided both advantages and disadvantages for official diviners and also to the private individuals who consulted them.
For more information please contact
Tel: 310 825-8683
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies