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Songs to Encourage the Cessation of Litigation: Printing, Orality, and Legal Knowledge in China, 1595-1949

November 6, 2017 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Image of a Chinese Woodcut from 1800s
Image credit: “Song to Encourage the Cessation of Litigation” accompanied by illustrations of court procedures. This image is a song from the late 1800s published in a collection, Popular Songs to Admonish Society (Quan shi tong su ge 勸世通俗歌). Collection editor: Lin Yixiu 林依秀. Publisher: Xiamen Huiwentang 廈門會文堂. Image is out of copyright.


Monday Seminar:

Joseph Dennis

Resident Fellow (2017-2018)

History, UW-Madison


How did people form their attitudes towards law in early modern and Republican period China? How did mass legal education affect the uses of law in daily life? This talk will examine the publication, circulation, and performance of “songs to encourage the cessation of litigation” (xisongge 息訟歌) and their significance to Chinese legal culture.


Joseph Dennis is an Associate Professor of History at UW-Madison and a member of the local gazetteer research group at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (MPIWG). He is the author of Writing, Publishing, and Reading Local Gazetteers in China, 1100-1700 (Harvard, 2015), and former president of the Society for Ming Studies. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, the National Library of France, the Vilas Trust, the MPIWG, and other institutions.


November 6, 2017
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States