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[活動回放]Cash in, Paper out: The Politics of Paper Currency in Late Song China








School of Chinese Scholar Seminar


Cash in, Paper out: The Politics of Paper Currency in Late Song China


Speaker: Prof. Charles HARTMAN (The University at Albany, State University of New York)    
Moderator: Prof. Ming Kin CHU (HKU)
Date & Time: April 9, 2024 (Tue) 15:30-17:30pm
Language: English
Venue: CRT-7.30, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU


Meeting ID: 920 6457 1314

Password: 145625



As is well-known, in the mid twelfth century the Song dynasty (960-1279) issued the world’s first paper currency – the huizi 會字 – and this event marks one of the seminal “firsts” in Chinese history. Yet less than one hundred years later, the rampant inflation caused by the government’s over-issuance of the huizi was a major contributing factor to the weakening of the dynasty and its eventual conquest by the Mongols in 1275. The lecture explores the political and economic context of the emergence of the huizi in the 1160s, the ensuing efforts to stabilize the currency, and the political tensions that government reliance on this paper currency, backed by imperial fiat, generated among Song officials. This lecture demonstrates that the politics of the huizi marked a divide between imperial technocrats centered in the Song inner court who were allied with army leadership and those civil officials who were intellectually and politically in tune with the emerging Confucian movement known as the Learning of the Way (daoxue 道學).


About the Speaker:

Professor Charles Hartman received his PhD in Chinese literature from Indiana University in 1975 and published Han Yu and the Tang Search for Unity in 1986, which received the Levinson Prize from the Association for Asian Studies. Over the past twenty-five years, his articles on Song dynasty historiography in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic StudiesT’oung Pao, and the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies have prepared the way for his current research on how political decision-making influenced Song historical writing. His book, The Making of Song Dynasty History: Sources and Narratives was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. He was retired in Fall 2021.

1) The seminar will be conducted primarily in a face-to-face mode; Those who cannot attend the seminar in-person could apply for online participation (via Zoom) with justifications;
2) All those who would like to attend the seminar are required to register online (Click HERE) on a first-come, first-served basis;
3) Email of confirmation will be sent to the registered email addresses and participants have to show the screenshot or print-out version of the email for entry of the seminar venue;
4) Walk-in or late-comers will not be allowed for entry of the seminar venue unless situation allows.
ALL are welcome*
*Pre-registration (Click HERE) is requested.