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Grant number like: FA-55701-11

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Kenneth L. Pomeranz
Regents of the University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA 92617-3066)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2011 – 6/30/2012

Historical Perspectives on the Unity of China

I am writing a book called Why is China So Big?, based on lectures I have just given. Much has been written about how Chinese unification was achieved or maintained at specific moments, but there has been no study of why this unity has held for most of the last 2,000 years since Mark Elvin’s 1971 book--which stopped ca. 1700. I approach the topic three ways. Part One looks at state-formation, geo-politics, and military affairs. Part Two looks at political economy and the growth of regional inter-dependence through trade, migration patterns, and systems of resource management. Part Three turns to culture, especially religion, looking how state, elite, and popular worship, though rooted in different cosmologies, nonetheless made local and larger-scale identities mutually reinforcing. An introduction and conclusion discuss further implications for Chinese studies, comparative history, and contemporary affairs.