Christian de Pee
- 8th-14th century China (Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties)
- Text and writing
- Cities and urban space
- Representations of imperial power
- Historical archaeology
- Visible Cities: Text and Urban Space in Middle-Period China, Eighth through Twelfth Centuries
During the eleventh century, Chinese literati changed the geographic orientation of inherited literary genres, and devised new literary genres, in order to create a space in writing for the commercial cityscape. Within this newly created literary space, the commercial cityscape emerges, not as an achievement of human artifice, but as an extension of nature. The effort of eleventh-century literati to discern natural principles in urban traffic and in the urban economy aligns their writing of the city with other intellectual developments of the period, such as the interest in natural observation, medical diagnostics, and civil engineering. The archaeological excavation reports of eleventh-century cities such as Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Yangzhou afford incomplete physical geographies that intersect with the literary geographies of transmitted texts, thereby offering material resistance to literary representations and allowing a sharper understanding of the relationship between text and urban space.