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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29740

Title: Territory of the Sages: Neo-Confucian Discourse of Wuyi Nine Bends Jingjie
Authors: Han, Hee Yeon Christina
Advisor: Sanders, Graham
Department: East Asian Studies
Keywords: Jingjie
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2011
Abstract: This dissertation examines the effects of jingjie 境界 discourse on the development of Neo-Confucianism in 12th-18th century China and Korea. Jingjie, a multilayered term whose meanings include “territory,” “spiritual realm,” and “poetic landscape,” has largely been studied as a philosophical idea and aesthetic trope. These investigations, however, often overlook the connection between jingjie’s diverse meanings and the term’s role in the production of territorial knowledge. Using the method of discourse analysis, this study explores jingjie as a discourse of territoriality that constructed and represented forms of space, power, and identity through the process of horizontal and vertical territorialization, traversing geopolitics, philosophy, and poetry. The development of Neo-Confucianism can be traced through the intricate interplay of the multiple discourses of jingjie, particularly in the conception of sagely learning and living. The “jingjie of the sages,” proposed by Neo-Confucians as a new subject of inquiry and goal of learning, was conceived as a moral and spiritual territory to be claimed and reached, a poetic territory to be experienced, and a geopolitical territory to be restored. The most pronounced expression of Neo-Confucian jingjie discourse is found in the discursive development of Wuyi Mountains and its Nine Bends Stream (Wuyi Jiuqu 武夷九曲). Well-known because of its association with Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200 AD), Wuyi Nine Bends jingjie as a geopolitical territory developed into both the physical and symbolic centre of Cheng-Zhu learning, and was recreated throughout China and Korea as a sign of legitimate orthodoxy and as a base for factional expansion. As a poetic territory, Wuyi emerged as an important site of shared cultural memory, forging bonds between Neo-Confucians across generations. The discussion of Wuyi as a philosophical jingjie revolved around the interpretation of Zhu Xi’s poem “The Boat Song of Wuyi’s Nine Bends 武夷九曲櫂歌,” which became the source of hermeneutic debate that lasted for several centuries and contributed to an important philosophical literature. On the whole, by examining the development of Neo-Confucianism in light of the traditional discursive context of jingjie, this study reveals how the philosophical, political, and cultural movement was conceived and understood by the Neo-Confucians themselves as the joining together of different modes of territoriality, thus providing a richer, more nuanced and complex picture of the development of Neo-Confucianism in China and Korea from 12th-18th centuries.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/29740
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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