Professor Meow Hui Goh's recent journal publication, conference, and lecture

Meow Hui Goh, associate professor in Chinese, has been engaged in several academic activities recently, including a journal publication, a conference talk, an invited lecture, and more.
Meow Hui Goh will present “The Memory of the Subject of a Demised State: Lu Ji’s ‘Bian wang lun’ as Commemorative Text” at the upcoming 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, Western Branch, which will be held in Victoria, Canada, on October 3-5, 2013. This is an abstract of her paper:

In 280, Sun Hao 孫皓 (242-284), the Wu ruler, surrendered to the Jin army, effectively bringing an end to the state of Wu. How did this happen? This was the question that Lu Ji陸機 (261-303) sought to answer with his two-part essay titled “Bian wang lun” 辯亡論 (“An Argument on [Wu’s] Demise”). For Lu Ji, the descendent of two great Wu generals-cum-ministers known for their battle skills and unwavering loyalty, the question no doubt had great significance and hence, was a complex one to answer. By reading his essay in the immediate context of Wu’s demise, I will show that it is not simply a piece of discursive writing aimed at answering a historical question, but a work of complex nature, serving to commemorate the now-lost state of Wu, defend the Lu family legacy, and re-negotiate Lu Ji and all other former Wu loyalists’ standing as “subjects of a perished state” (wang guo zhi chen 亡國之臣). The essay, as I will argue, opens up larger questions about how the act of writing can be seen as an act of remembrance and how memory functioned to balance and reshape power structures in the early medieval context.

Meow Hui Goh’s article, “Becoming Wen: The Rhetoric in the ‘Final Edicts’ of Han Emperor Wen and Wei Emperor Wen,” will appear soon in Early Medieval China 19 (2013): 58-79. This article argues that a “final edict,” which was called yizhao 遺詔, yiling 遺令, zhongling 終令, or zhongzhi 終制, should be read not simply as an emperor’s instruction for his funeral and burial, but as a piece of rhetoric that was meant to define his image and legacy. Through a comparative reading of Han Emperor Wen’s and Wei Emperor Wen’s “final edicts,” two of the longest pieces in the early development of the genre, Goh discusses their different rhetorical strategies, their different visions of emperorship, and their different imperial “personae.” In conducting the comparison, she also examines the authority of imperial rhetoric against skepticism about such rhetoric. As her analysis demonstrates, the tension between rhetoric and anti-rhetoric is present even within a “final edict” itself and can still be felt in modern interpretations of the genre.

Invited Lecture
Meow Hui Goh (吳妙慧) gave an invited lecture at the Department of History at Renmin University in Beijing, China, on April 2, 2013. The title of her lecture was “Ruhe cheng ‘wen’: Han Wendi ji Wei Wendi de sangzang xiuci” 如何成“文”:漢文帝及魏文帝的喪葬修辭 (Becoming Wen: The Burial Rhetoric of Han Emperor Wen and Wei Emperor Wen).

Workshop Discussant
Meow Hui Goh was an invited discussant at the Ninth Annual Medieval Studies Workshop, which was organized by Wendy Swartz of Rutgers University and held on May 4, 2013. Goh discussed a paper by Xiaofei Tian of Harvard University entitled “The Stubborn Orange: Letters and Gifts in Early Medieval China.”