Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Victoria
Research keywords: Cultural and social history of Ming-Qing China (1368–1911)
Lianbin Dai is a Sinologist by training with a DPhil degree in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. He specializes in the cultural and social history of Ming-Qing China (1368–1911). His research encompasses issues of traditional Chinese humanities, with extensive studies ranging from the history of the book to intellectual history and material culture. Dai is working on his book manuscript, entitled “Learning to Be Learned: Neo-Confucian Knowledge Culture in Late Imperial China.” This project examines the Neo-Confucian knowledge concepts and practice within relations of power, influence and authority in China from 1200 through 1700. Revising the moralist and localist label of Chinese Neo-Confucian activism and the conventional hypothesis of “inward turn,” Dai argues that Neo-Confucian activism involved both moral self-cultivation and statecraft knowledge acquisition so that its practitioners were able to effectively assume their sociopolitical duties. Moral self-cultivation was not the end of Neo-Confucian learning but the start of its sociopolitical engagements and the approach to the ideal social order.