The Customs of Reclusion and Social Munificence:Social network analysis of Chen Jiru (1558-1639)

Abstract: Chen Jiru (1558-1639) was born in Songjiang, Lower Yangtse Valley, during a time when the area was experiencing unprecedented growth in urbanisation and prosperity. He is a man detached from politics but still spoke out and claimed the right to comment on political matters while remaining fastidiously pure. Chen's reputation as a recluse (Shan Ren 山人) has endured to the present day, giving rise to an unusual array of perspectives concerning his manner of seclusion and what it represented. But the pattern of connections across space in which recluses represented by Chen constructed their literary personae and celebrity is yet to be explored.

In order to analyze the mechanisms that generate the customs of the hermits Chen represents, it is important to first understand the environment in which Chen constructed his image that associated reclusion and munificence. Using the data mainly collected from the Chronological Biography of Chen Jiru, the records of Chen written by other literati and the China Biographical Database (CBDB), Social network analysis (SNA) and GIS are the two main methods the project uses.

There are four expected outcomes of this project. First, Chen’s social network; Second, the sub-network of Chen’s social relationship; Third, the social network of Shan Ren in the late Ming; Fourth, visualizing these social networks temporally and spatially. The main challenge we might face is the limited time to comprehensively collect, organize and analyse these data.

# Team members

  • Meilong Chen, Histoire et civilisations, EHESS: École des hautes études en sciences sociales
  • Tong Wang, Department of History, Peking University
  • Xiaotong Xu, Department of Chinese, Lingnan University
  • Kaixin Zhao, Department of History, Peking University
  • Yajie Hao, School of Literature, Zhejiang University

# Supervisor