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.
As a research associate at YCAR, 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.
Keywords: Cultural and social history of Ming-Qing China (1368–1911)