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The Origins of the Chinese Nation


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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Political Space: 1. Diplomacy and cosmopolitan society; 2. Military defense of the Northern Frontier; 3. Bilateral boundaries; Part II. Cultural Spaces: 4. The Chinese nation; 5. Mortuary cultures across the Chinese-Steppe divide; 6. Sinic space and Han Chinese; Conclusion.

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Nicolas Tackett explores the emergence of a new worldview and sense of Chinese identity during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127).

About the Author

Nicolas Tackett earned his B.S. from Stanford University (1998) and his Ph.D. from Columbia University (2006). He has been at the University of California, Berkeley since 2009, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on a variety of topics, including 'Imperial China and the World', 'Precursors of Modern Nationalism', 'Frontier History', and 'History of Nationalism in Asia'. Tackett's first book, The Destruction of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy (2014), received the American Historical Association's John Henry Breasted Prize in 2015. He was also the recipient of post-doctoral fellowships at Stanford University and the Getty Research Institute, and of an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship. He has given talks on four continents and in three languages on topics related to Tang-Song China.


'Tackett's provocative and highly original book makes the case that eleventh-century Chinese scholar-officials, traveling back and forth on embassies between the Song capital and the Kitans' Liao court, came to think of their country not as a universal empire, ruling many ethnic groups, but as a nation state, a state for the Han Chinese.' Patricia Buckley Ebrey, University of Washington
'In The Origins of the Chinese Nation: Song China and the Forging of an East Asian World Order, Nicolas Tackett shows that 'nationalism' was not solely a modern, Western phenomenon by demonstrating how a form of nationalist consciousness came into being in eleventh-century China, when the Chinese state coexisted with other states on its borders. Elegantly and lucidly written, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the complex interactions of culture, ethnicity, and nationalism.' Beverly Bossler, University of California, Davis
'Tackett's study of the formation of a new literati national consciousness in the eleventh century denaturalize the modern nation and fundamentally challenges the belief that nationalism is the unique product of Western modernity.' Peter K. Bol, Harvard University, Massachusetts
'Tackett ingeniously explores the political and cultural space of the Northern Song period (960-1127 C.E.) to demonstrate the rise of a new Chinese identity remarkably similar to the early nationalisms of the Atlantic world. He succeeds in demonstrating the emergence of a national consciousness in the late eleventh century through careful use of textual and archaeological sources.' Michael C. McGrath, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
'Nicolas Tackett's The Origins of the Chinese Nation provides a wealth of material in a renewed attempt at exploring 'when is the nation?' ...' Atsuko Ichijo, Nations and Nationalism

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