Ruisen Zheng (KCL) - 2022-23 Students

Knowledge Management at the Imperial Court: Compilation Literature in Tenth and Eleventh Century Byzantium and China

My doctoral thesis presents a detailed cross-cultural and comparative study of the compilation literature in the tenth and eleventh-century Byzantium and China. The two imperial systems across Eurasian Continent chose a similar way to strengthen their imperial standings, authority, and governance ability, having invested great energy and manpower in these literary and legal works. This dissertation examines how compilation, as an editorial method, was used to collect specific knowledge and how the compilation literature such as anthologies and legal texts interacted with the court lives and political careers of the Byzantines and the Song Chinese during this period. This thesis further comments on the historical phenomenon of excerpting and compiling texts that spontaneously happened on both ends of the Eurasian Continent in the tenth and eleventh centuries, suggesting that it was a convergence point where a kind of historical synchronicity was embedded in two different imperial experiences. An inter-study of both cultures, whose diverse sources present two different yet resonated political realities, and how these two traditions managed knowledge, would help us understand and say some new things about the medieval Eurasian world, presenting a new research outreach for Classicists, Medievalists, Byzantinists, and Sinologist alike.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Peter Heather, KCL
Secondary supervisor: Ernest Caldwell, SOAS

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