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Moralism, Fundamentalism, and the Rhetoric of Decline in Eurasia, 1600–1900

A core program conference at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library organized by Clark Professors Andrea S. Goldman and Gabriel Piterberg, (UCLA)

Saturday, November 17, 2012
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron St.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

The Clark and Center core program for 2012–2013 explores responses to crises and upheavals in early modern landed empires, with special focus on the Ottoman and Qing empires. In particular, we will investigate the perceptions of temporary collapses of state power in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Detecting tendencies toward moralism and perceived decline in elite discourses and state policies, we will look at the ways such concerns were expressed in the domains of institutional and educational reforms, sexual mores, and cultural representation. We will also examine how social boundaries were both rigidified and contested at such moments of transition. We hope to discern shared patterns across Eurasia as well as trajectories specific to each political entity.

Session 1—Moralism and the Rhetoric of Decline in Seventeenth-Century Eurasia


The background for this conference is the sixteenth-century price revolution in Eurasia and the attendant political and social crises of the first half of the seventeenth century. It will focus on two phenomena.  The first is the religious movements and discourses of moral purification, which ranged from sexual mores to people’s attire when they appeared in the public domain. Papers on this theme will consider whether this may have been a reaction to what Walter Andrews has termed the "age of beloveds." The second phenomenon is the proliferation of literatures of decline, in which bureaucrats and intellectuals tried to diagnose what was wrong with their states and societies, and to prescribe solutions accordingly.  Papers on this topic will go beyond the limitations of content analysis and positivist reading, and will consider its social, literary and rhetorical dimensions.


Registration Deadline: November 9, 2012

Please click here for a printable registration form.

Registration Fees: $20 per person; UC faculty & staff, students with ID: no charge*

All students, UC faculty and staff may register via e-mail by sending their name, affiliation and phone number to

*Students should be prepared to provide their current University ID at the conference.

Complimentary lunch and other refreshments are provided to all registrants.

Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. Confirmation will be sent via email.


Schedule: Saturday, November 17th


9:30 a.m.


Morning Coffee and Registration

10:00 a.m.

Session 4: Manliness, Morality, and Crisis in Seventeenth-Century Eurasia
Chair: Andrea S. Goldman, University of California, Los Angeles

Ying Zhang, Visiting Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles
The Condemned and the Redeemed: Strategic Moralism and Manly Virtues during the Qing Shunzhi Reign (1644–1661)

Leslie Peirce, New York University
The Rhetoric of Abduction in the Ottoman Time of Troubles

Discussant: Andrea S. Goldman, University of California, Los Angeles

12:00 p.m.

Program concludes

Sponsor(s): , Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies

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