New Digital Research Methods for Chinese History


New Digital Research Methods for Chinese History


How can recent advances in digital research offer scholars a macro view of data from across Chinese history?
The “Books in China Database,” a cutting-edge research tool, offers an answer to this question in the form of sophisticated data mining and data presentation for questions about Chinese book history. UW-Madison History Professor Joseph Dennis spent the past year in Berlin, Germany, working with a team at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science to create this new open access database of information on 32,458 books and other texts held in 720 school libraries, local government offices, and other sites across China in the fourteenth to the early-twentieth centuries. The Center for East Asian Studies hosted this talk by Professor Dennis on how this project evolved and what scholars can expect to gain from it.


Joseph Dennis is an historian of late imperial China, especially the Ming (1368-1644). His research and teaching focus on Chinese social, legal, and book history. He is currently researching the history of legal education, schools, and libraries in imperial China.