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Social Memory and State Formation in Early China
Li Min

In this book, Li Min proposes a new paradigm for the foundation and emergence of the classical tradition in early China, from the late Neolithic through the Zhou period. Using a wide range of historical and archaeological data, he explains the development of ritual authority and particular concepts of kingship over time in relation to social memory. His volume weaves together the major benchmarks in the emergence of the classical tradition, particularly how legacies of prehistoric interregional interactions, state formation, urban florescence and collapse during the late third and the second millenniums BCE laid the critical foundation for the Sandai notion of history among Zhou elite. Moreover, the literary-historical accounts of the legendary Xia Dynasty in early China reveal a cultural construction involving social memories of the past and subsequent political elaborations in various phases of history. This volume enables a new understanding on the long-term processes that enabled a classical civilization in China to take shape.

Cambridge University Press, 2018