This talk is rescheduled. More details will be forthcoming.
This in-person talk is open to the public. It is generously co-sponsored by Rutgers Global.
Zheng Ke’s 鄭克 (fl. 1124-1149), Tortoise and Mirror for Judging Cases (Zheyu guijian 折獄龜鑑) is the second earliest printed legal casebook in China, featuring 395 model cases of murder, theft, and fraud from a millennium of Chinese history. Zheng was performing his own career expertise as an early Southern Song judicial official and deployed historical techniques of narration and commentary in order to present himself as an epistemic authority on assessing a suspect’s guilt and innocence. Zheyu guijianpresents brief accounts of how exemplary judges collected, inspected, and verified visual evidence by balancing two modalities of knowledge: reactive intuition and deductive rationality. Through a close reading of cases of murder and assault, featuring vivid descriptions of severed heads, poisoned corpses, and lethal wounds, this talk will reconstruct the implicit standards of evidence that Zheng Ke deemed sufficient for a just conviction.
Ari Daniel Levine is the Horace Montgomery Professor of History at the University of Georgia, and a Member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study for 2022-23. The author of Divided by a Common Language: Factional Conflict in Late Northern Song China (University of Hawaii Press, 2008) and the co-author of Powerful Arguments: Standards of Validity in Late Imperial China (Brill, 2020), he also contributed two chapters to Volume 5 of the Cambridge History of China. Between 2017 and 2021, he served as the Editor of the Journal of Song-Yuan Studies and is the current President of the Society for Song, Yuan, and Conquest Dynasties Studies until 2024. He has published articles and book chapters on urban space and cultural memory in Song China as well as global medieval history, and is currently working on a book that investigates how eleventh-century scholars imagined how the eye, mind, and memory worked.