Dr. Pitner Published in the Journal of the American Oriental Society

April 12 2018
Category: Faculty

Mark Pitner

A study by Dr. Mark Pitner, associate professor of history and Asian studies, was recently published in Journal of the American Oriental Society.

This study, titled, “Stuttered Speech and Moral Intent: Disability and Elite Identity Construction in Early Imperial China, ” contextualizes the many descriptions of important personages from Han Feizi  (ca. 280- ca. 233 B.C.E.) and Yang Xiong  (53 BCE- 18 CE) to Guo Pu (276-324) and Wang Wei (415-453) who are described in biographical records as kouji (dysfluent). 

The paper contextualizes these descriptions by examining both the hermeneutical tradition regarding the language used to describe this condition as well as the evolving understanding of this condition in traditional Chinese medical texts. It becomes clear when taken in this larger context and as a collective that this condition is not just a random oddity to be included in a biography as merely an outlying feature of an individual, but this condition was understood in the much more highly charged realm of language production and moral practice.

This study is the first in a series of studies on disability in early China that Dr. Pitner is working on. He plans to complete the next study in the coming year.