Qiyu Yang

A fancy portrait of Qiyu
Cohort Year: 2022
Research Interests: Early China
Education: B.A., Sun Yat-sen University, 2013; M.A., Sun Yat-sen University, 2016; M.A. University of Chicago, 2021


My interest lies in exploring how early Chinese scholars recollected and interpreted the Zhou history, the golden age of Chinese civilization. In my first master thesis, “King or Minister: Debate Concerning the Duke of Zhou’s Regency in Han Dynasty,” I found Han scholars’ narratives of the Duke of Zhou’s bibliography competed with one another, depending on how individual scholars thought of the interrelations between man and his historical precedent. Different opinions on man’s attitude towards his past formulate not only competitive narratives of the Zhou history but also distinct understandings of humanity. My second master thesis on the “Da Ming” (Great Brightness”), a poem that narrates King Wen’s birth, marriage, and Zhou’s conquest of Shang, shows how the historiography of Zhou was appropriated as the battlefield for competing discourses on human nature.

My quest for the meaning of Zhou has also led me to explore the Zhou history narrated in the unearthed texts. Stimulated by the studies of unearthed texts, I began to move beyond the literary and commentarial traditions and expanded my interest into the aspects of Zhou history that had been excluded by the received texts. From 2021–2022, I worked as a copyeditor for the English translation of the Yi Zhou shu (Leftover Zhou Scriptures) portion in the Warring States Bamboo Slips in the Collection of Tsinghua University. This experience made me wonder how and why some narratives of Zhou history had been “left over” or neglected. Facing the tension between the received classical traditions and unearthed documents, I became more curious about the impulses in early China that constructed the meaning of the past.