about the project
Proceeding from a broad conception of power as the heteronomous reduction of individual and collective autonomy which can be effected through military, economic, ideological, and political means, the project “Power and Strategies of Social and Political Order” will address a range of questions pertinent to the study of various Asian and Middle Eastern societies from the ancient past to the present. Additionally, it is designed to contribute to an improved historical, sociological, cultural, and anthropological understanding of the emergence, stability and transformation of political and social structures more generally. In this sense, the project promises to foster a fruitful exchange with scholars who pursue research on other than sinophone cultures and in other fields of specialization, including such disciplines as sociology, intellectual history, philosophy, archaeology, and anthropology. The project will also prove to be highly relevant to the pressing issue of understanding contemporary societies, though not from the perspective of a shallow presentism but, instead, through a methodologically and theoretically informed study of the longue durée based on a close examination of primary sources. The project is devided into three closely interconnected research panels exploring the topic from different perspectives: Foundations of Power, Representations of Power, and Structures of Power.