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Lecture | China Seminar

Art History and the Question of Early Modern Cosmopolitanism in the Qing

  • Stephen H. Whiteman
Thursday 31 October 2019
University Library
Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
Vossius Room


What did it mean to be “cosmopolitan” in the early modern world, and what the stakes of this question as we seek to articulate a connected history of the long eighteenth century in China? How can visual culture and the built environment contribute to this discussion, particularly with regards to the prospect of an “early modern cosmopolitan emperorship”? Focusing on a group of paintings executed in the Kangxi court around the turn of the eighteenth century, and on the nature of emperorship articulated under Kangxi more generally, this paper explores the significance of connected histories of art and architecture to evolving understandings of the Qing polity in its global contexts.


Stephen Whiteman is Senior Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he is Director of Research Degree Programmes and convenor of the Digital Art History Research Group. His research and teaching focuses on the visual and spatial cultures of early modern China in their global contexts. Current projects include a connected history of landscape and space in early modern Eurasia, histories of mapping and maritime cultures in China, and modelling subjective experience of early modern Chinese landscapes through immersive 3-D environments. Stephen is co-author of Thirty-Six Views: The Kangxi Emperor’s Mountain Estate in Poetry and Prints (Dumbarton Oaks, 2016), which received the John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize in 2017; his new book, Where Dragon Veins Meet: The Kangxi Emperor and His Estate at Rehe, will appear with University of Washington Press in early 2020.

This event is generously sponsored by the The Hulsewé-Wazniewski Foundation

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