Warring States Publications
Ancient China in Context
The transition from the Chinese classical period to the Chinese Empire in 221 BC was a centuries-long process of state rebuilding, law creation, and war. From this turbulent background of autocracy within and conflict without, there emerged the philosophies of China's Golden Age of Thought, whose literary expression is one of the treasures of the world cultural heritage.
A full understanding of the period and its philosophy has long been hampered by uncertainty about the nature and date of these classical texts. To this problem, Bruce and Taeko Brooks, principals of the Warring States Project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, bring the fruits of decades of research. The results are being published in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts press.
Worldwide scholarly reaction to the first announcement of this program was enthusiastic:
- "The work of Bruce and Taeko Brooks is unique in Sinology. They have brought to the field the proven methodology of Classical philology and applied it to long unsolved problems concerning the date and structure of the Chinese classical texts . . . The result has been a revolution in the scholarly understanding of these texts, and in their proper use as sources for history" (Christopher I Beckwith, Indiana University) .
- "It is particularly important from my point of view that the Warring States publication proposal sets out to place Chinese philology in a comparative context, and to raise issues that are of broader interest than those of a narrowly professional public" (Christoph Harbsmeier, University of Oslo)
- "Hitherto, understanding of pre-imperial China has been obfuscated by a narrative which was composed in the early Empire and which retrojected conditions obtaining in its own time or desired in its own time onto the preceding period" (Raphael Sealey, Emeritus, University of California at Berkeley)
- "I have been both impressed and influenced by the work of Bruce and Taeko Brooks since I became aware of it in the mid-1990's . . . In several ways they have fundamentally shifted the ground beneath the feet of scholars whose work relates to early China" (Stephen C Angle, Wesleyan University)
- "The Project's most significant contribution is its commitment to trace changes in intellectual trends over time. This approach has shaken some in our field, who would prefer to view certain figures and texts as representations of eternal wisdom, existing out of time. But such a traditional way of viewing early China precludes any hope of coming to terms with the intersection between history and thought . . . In short, the work of the Project is timely, solid, and path-breaking" (Karen Turner, College of the Holy Cross)
- "The picture the Brookses have built up, piece by piece, over the years deeply alters our understanding of the classical texts, of the nature of the dialogue among thinkers, and of the actual history of early China" (Haun Saussy, Yale University)
- ". . . One major deficiency in the field, however, is a clear chronology of these transmitted texts and unearthed manuscripts. The Warring States Project is the only group of scholars working on a comprehensive chronology to meet this deficiency" (Paul van Els, Leiden University)
- "Through a systematic effort, we get at a general chronology including all major texts, and this effort has shown a degree of interconnectedness that few would have anticipated" (Jörg Schumacher, Université de Genève)
- These works are eagerly awaited in the field (Lewis Cook, Queens College)
- "Original scholars from all over the world have rallied to the Warring States Project. Whether established or young, all want to find a road to learning that is as historical as it is linguistic . . . That is why I find the work of the Warring States Project among the most valuable in Chinese studies" (Nathan Sivin, University of Pennsylvania)
- "The Project's work promises to transform the study of early China in a number of ways, and the books they foresee publishing are sure to be among the most significant written about early China, probably for decades" (Dan Robins, Stockton College)
- "Every one of the publications planned in this series will make a major contribution in establishing a new paradigm for our understanding of the key philosophical, political, and historical texts . . . how these texts spoke to each other, and how they evolved in dynamic dialogue with each other" (Paul Ropp, Clark University)
The series Ancient China in Context is meant for first-acquaintance readers, from undergraduates to professionals in other fields. First to be released is a general survey, The Emergence of China, which weaves together the contributions of the major schools of thought into an account of the creation of the Chinese Empire. Several companion volumes will follow, presenting in more detail the classical centuries as seen from the perspective of one major text. These will include Chinese characters, and can thus be used by students of language as well as history.
Release dates are tentative. Volumes presently planned, in chronological order by subject, are:
- Confucius: Man, Myth, and Movement (2017)
- Before the Yi: The Earliest Chinese Divination Manual (2016)
- Arts of War: Master Sun and His Successors (2014)
- Design for Peace: The Mician Program for Ancient China (2015)
- Finding the Way: The Dau/Dv Jing and Chinese Statecraft (2013)
- The Emergence of China: From Confucius to the Empire (2010)
Detailed descriptions, and some sample readings, are available at the above pages.
Once announced, books may be ordered from the University of Massachusetts Press.
14 June 2012 / Contact The Project / Exit to Publications Page