fulbright Taiwan online journal

fulbright Taiwan online journal

Author: David M. Robinson 魯大維

David M. Robinson 魯大維
David Robinson is Robert H.N. Ho Professor in Asian Studies and Professor of History at Colgate University.  He teaches and writes about early modern East Asian history, especially court culture, diplomatic practice, and military history.

Putting Memory to Work: The Ming Court and the Legacy of the Mongol Empire

     Empires create legacies that successors use in diverse ways.  My project explores the court of China’s Ming dynasty (1368-1644) on a broad Eurasian stage.  It focuses on a moment when much of Eurasia shared a common reference point, the Mongol empire.  In the thirteenth century, the Mongols created the greatest land empire in history; their courts in China, Persia, and southern Russia were centers of wealth, learning, power, religion, and lavish spectacle. Scholars have rightly stressed the Mongol empire’s lasting impact on later ages, drawing attention to the emergence of an early modern global economy, the rise of Western Europe, and the development of the concept and practice of world history.  I tell the story from a different perspective. Rather than focus on how the Mongol empire shaped those who followed in its wake, I trace how ambitious men throughout Eurasia sought to exploit the memory, institutions, and personnel networks of the fallen empire. In other words, I highlight the historical agency of these rulers and their courts as they selectively appropriated elements of the Mongol legacy to advance their interests.      My work takes advantage of momentum in several fields of early modern history. Scholars have

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Research & Reflections

fulbright taiwan online journal