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East Asia by the Book! CEAS Author Talks ft. Martin Powers
"China and England: the Preindustrial Struggle for Justice in Word and Image"

This book examines egalitarian social ideals and institutions that arose in preindustrial China and England, and in the process, uncovers China’s forgotten role in the history of social justice debate and legislation during the eighteenth century. Drawing on a wide range of visual and documentary evidence, the author shows that many prominent individuals in both England and China adopted comparable strategies as a logical response to excesses of privilege and arbitrary power, with educated but non-noble persons taking advantage of print culture, a more literate population, an expanded art market, public spaces and other familiar ‘early modern’ developments to interrogate the system of inherited privilege and promote a more meritocratic society.

Martin Powers is Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, University of Michigan. He was formerly Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures, and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies. His research focuses on the role of the arts in the history of human relations in China, with an emphasis on issues of social justice.

Initiated in 2016, this annual series showcases CEAS faculty, alumni, and special guests who provide author talks and book launches as a way to engage the broader community in conversations regarding key scholarship on East Asia.

This event is co-sponsored with the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.

This book is a print on demand (hardcover and paperback).

NOTE: This book was the subject of a panel at the American Philosophical Association. Proceeds of that can be found here, on the Journal of World Philosophies website:


Nov 17, 2020 05:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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