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Agricultural Imagery, Governmentality, and Self-Cultivation in Early Chinese Texts, May 22

Ritualistic and agricultural imagery dominate depictions of the human and social body in early Chinese texts. In this presentation, I set out to dialogue passages from three texts from the 4th & 2nd century BCE in order to depict their distinct understandings of self-cultivation and governmentality. I analyze how changes in their usage of images of tilled fields and wilderness crystallize and purport conceptual transformations of rulership.