Hongjie Wang

New Book Sheds Light on Turbulent 10th Century China

(August 19, 2011) A new book by Armstrong assistant professor of history Hongjie Wang sheds light on the tumultuous national politics of China in the 10th century, a period of political strife and widespread warfare that saw the rise of a new empire in what is today's Sichuan province.

Power and Politics in Tenth-Century China: The Former Shu Regime (Cambria Press, 2011), explores a period of Chinese history known as the Five Dynasties and Ten States—occurring between the eras of the Tang empire and the Song dynasty—and focuses on the Former Shu, one of the ten states that contributed to the political configuration of China today. The rise of the Former Shu challenged the supremacy of the regimes to the north and brought recognition to the south as a political equal for the first time.

As part of the research for his first book, Wang traveled in 2005 to Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, where the tomb of Wang Jian, the founder of the Former Shu, was discovered in the 1940s and opened to the public in 1979. The author conducted research at Sichuan University, libraries and museums in the region, as well as Harvard University and Yale University in the United States.

“This period of Chinese history is somewhat of a forgotten topic among researchers,” said Wang. “Because of the chaotic times and wars during the period many historical records were lost,” said Wang.

Wang shares a connection with the distant Chinese ruler Wang Jian in that they both hail from the Henan province. He began his research in 2005 as part of his dissertation work at Brown University, where he earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in East Asian history. He joined Armstrong in 2008, where he teaches Chinese and Japanese history and world civilization courses.

In addition to his degrees from Brown, Wang holds a master's and a bachelor's degree from Renmin University in China. His areas of research interest include political history of medieval China, East Asian historiography and Chinese food culture.