China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
While Tangshi “Tang poetry” remains as ever a lively field of research, its semantic scope is rarely examined and the term is often deployed nonchalantly. Nor is the standard interpretation of Tangshi as an umbrella term for poems composed during the Tang dynasty always helpful. This panel attempts to problematize the concept of “Tang poetry,” particularly in light of a “re-periodization” or even “de-periodization” of classical Chinese medieval poetry.
From different perspectives, the panelists will investigate the use and meaning of Tangshi across genres and historical periods. Xiaoshan Yang explores the cultural and literary forces behind the urge to periodize Tang poetry in the Song period. Nicholas M. Williams discusses the semantic and poetic grounding of Tang shi poems in various genres from the Han and Six Dynasties. Chunxiao Liu analyzes the conceptualization of Tangshi, with special attention to the evaluation and canonization of Tang poems. Su Fu focuses on the Tang configuration of “On historical themes” as a poetic category.
In several respects, the panel consciously embraces diversity in its makeup: an equal number of women (Fu, Liu, Shields) and men (Kroll, Williams, Yang), an equal number of Chinese (Fu, Liu, Yang) and non-Chinese participants (Kroll, Shields, Williams), an equal number of senior (Kroll, Shields, Yang) and junior scholars (Fu, Liu, Williams), and a mix of scholars from Europe (Liu), Asia (Williams) as well as the U.S.
It is hoped that the panel will stimulate fresh insights into the criteria and pitfalls of literary periodization in premodern China.