Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Autumn-Spring and Warring States and The Unification of China – The Formation of “Super Stable Structure” in Ancient China

Stanford ChinaRains

The Autumn-Spring and Warring States and The Unification of China

– The Formation of “Super Stable Structure” in Ancient China


Dingxin Zhao

Professor of Sociology

University of Chicago


芝加哥大学 社会学系教授

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Meyer Library, Room 143

560 Escondido Mall (Map:

Working language: Chinese


Outline of the talk:



This talk presents a general model of social change developed from the theories of Max Weber and Herbert Spencer. The model is applied to address numerous research questions and historical patterns crucial to understanding the Chinese past, especially the history of the Spring-Autumn and Warring States (SA&WS) era (770-221 BCE). Some of those research questions and historical patterns include: Why was China able to achieve an unusual pace of development in politics, ideology, military and economy in the SA&WS era? Why was the state power able to attain increasing domination during the SW&WS, leading to the rise of the strong and militarized bureaucratic state? Why could China end in unification in 221 BCE and why was it Qin rather than the other states that won out in the fierce military conflict? Why could a similar imperial system persist in China most of the time from 221 BCE to the early 20th century? Why did military commanders play little role in politics except during civil wars? Why did transcendental religions fail to have a great impact on Chinese politics?

What were the forces that shaped nomads-Chinese relationships in imperial China? Why didn’t an industrial revolution take place in China?

Bio of The Speaker:



Dingxin Zhao is professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago. His research covers social movements, nationalism, historical sociology, social change and economic development. He is currently working on a project on historical sociology, which, based on a comparison with the European experience, is intended to develop an empirically-grounded theory to explain the changes in state, military, economy and philosophy during China's Axial Age (722-221 BCE), the unification of China under the Qin Empire (221-206 BCE), and how the developments of this period shaped China's later history. He intends to devote his time here at Stanford to write a book, and is very much looking forward to getting to know more about Stanford and the faculty and students of this school.

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