Hardback
April 15, 2020
9780295747163
English
264
8 tables, 7 b&w illus.
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1.15 Pounds (US)
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v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
April 15, 2020
9780295747156
English
264
8 tables, 7 b&w illus.
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6.00 Inches (US)
.85 Pounds (US)
$30.00 USD, £23.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Circulating the Code

Print Media and Legal Knowledge in Qing China

Contrary to longtime assumptions about the insular nature of imperial China's legal system, Circulating the Code demonstrates that in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) most legal books were commercially published and available to anyone who could afford to buy them. Publishers not only extended circulation of the dynastic code and other legal texts but also enhanced the judicial authority of case precedents and unofficial legal commentaries by making them more broadly available in convenient formats. As a result, the laws no longer represented privileged knowledge monopolized by the imperial state and elites. Trade in commercial legal imprints contributed to the formation of a new legal culture that included the free flow of accurate information, the rise of nonofficial legal experts, a large law-savvy population, and a high litigation rate.

Comparing different official and commercial editions of the Qing Code, popular handbooks for amateur legal practitioners, and manuals for community legal lectures, Ting Zhang demonstrates how the dissemination of legal information transformed Chinese law, judicial authority, and popular legal consciousness.

About the Author

Ting Zhang is assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland.

Endorsements

"Makes a very important corrective to our understanding of the dissemination of legal information in the late imperial period by defining the ways in which such information was transmitted broadly, even to illiterate commoners. Circulating the Code expands our understanding of the range of works printed during the commercial publishing boom of the late Ming and Qing."—Cynthia Brokaw, author of Commerce in Culture: The Sibao Book Trade in the Qing and Republican Periods

"Takes recent developments in the field of Chinese legal history to a new level by combining the study of law with the study of book history and print culture."—Li Chen, author of Chinese Law in Imperial Eyes: Sovereignty, Justice and Transcultural Politics

"Overturns several stereotypes about Chinese law, most importantly that Chinese people did not know what the law was."—Madeline Zelin, author of The Merchants of Zigong: Industrial Entrepreneurship in Early Modern China

University of Washington Press

9780295747163 : circulating-the-code-zhang
Hardback
April 15, 2020
$95.00 USD
9780295747156 : circulating-the-code-zhang
Paperback / softback
April 15, 2020
$30.00 USD

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