332 China Review International: Vol. 24, No. 4, 2017 Sarah Schneewind. Shrines to Living Men in the Ming Political Cosmos. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2018. xviii, 360 pp. Hardcover $45.00, ISBN 978-0-674-98714-2. Since the fall of the Ming, the political history of this dynasty has been treated like a straw man, by the Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty who obsessively belittled their Ming predecessors and by modern intellectuals in their attempt to diagnose the Ming “failure” to modernize its political system. In scholarly and popular discourses, Ming politics is often simpliﬁed to describe how despotic emperors, dogmatic and hypocritical Confucian ofﬁcials, and evil eunuchs ruined everyone else. Some of us have been asking: What else can we say about the Ming political system? This question assumes new relevance and urgency as we witness disorienting changes in the politics of our own time. When the Ming looks more and more familiar, what lessons do we miss if we do not go beyond invoking the Ming as a historical example of oppressive autocracy? In this meticulously researched book on the practice of establishing shrines for living ofﬁcials in the Ming dynasty, Sarah Schneewind demonstrates the remarkable intellectual value
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Dec 12, 2019
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