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Computing China's History

A talk by PETER BOL (Harvard)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The proliferation of digitized sources offers historical studies opportunities for dealing with large quantities of data. Text-mining techniques,  geographic information systems, prosopographical databases, and network analysis provide computational tools for dealing with that data. Specific examples will be drawn from the China Historical GIS, the China Biographical Database, and the G. Wm. Skinner's ChinaW datasets. 


Peter K. Bol is the Charles H. Carswell Professor East Asian Languages and Civilizations and a Harvard College Professor. He led Harvard’s university-wide effort to establish support for geospatial analysis in teaching and research; in 2005 he was named the first director of the Center for Geographic Analysis. He also directs the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project, a collaboration between Harvard and Fudan University in Shanghai to create a GIS for 2000 years of Chinese history. In a collaboration between Harvard, Academia Sinica, and Peking University he directs the China Biographical Database project, an online relational database currently of 50,000 middle period figures that is being expanded to cover the Chinese political elite over the last 2000 years.

He has written widely in English, Chinese, and Japanese on China’s intellectual and social history. Recently, with Harvard undergraduates and graduate students, he has been engaged in the study of local society and culture in China’s southeast. At Harvard Bol teaches “China: Tradition and Transformation,” “The Chinese Literati” and “The Culture of Everyday Life in China: in the General Education Program. He holds degrees from the University of Leiden and Princeton University. He is the author of or a contributor to Neo-Confucianism in History (2008), The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition in Chinese History (2003), Ways with Words (2000), Culture and the State in Chinese History (1998), Energizing China: Reconciling Protection And Economic Growth (1998), "This Culture of Ours": Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China (1992), Ordering the World: Approaches to State and Society in Sung Dynasty China (1992), and Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching (1990), Neo-Confucian Education: The Formative Stage (1989).

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