Jen-shu Wu

Jen-shu Wu (Wu, Renshu) (巫仁恕), Ph.D. (1996) is Research Fellow at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica in Taiwan. He has published several articles and monographs on the social, economic, and cultural history of the Ming and Qing dynasties, including Pinwei shehua: Wan Ming de xiaofei shehui yu shidafu (Taste and Extravagance: Late Ming Consumer Society and the Gentry (Taibei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan lianjing chuban gongsi, 2007); Jibian liangmin: chuantong Zhongguo chengshi qunzhong jiti xingdong zhi fenxi (Good Citizens Turning Rebels: An Analysis of Urban Mass Collective Actions in Traditional China) (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 2011); and Youyou fangxiang: Ming-Qing Jiangnan chengshi de xiuxian xiaofei yu kongjian bianqian (Urban Pleasures: Leisure Consumption and Spatial Transformation in Jiangnan Cities during the Ming-Qing Period) (Taibei: Zhongyang yanjiuyuan jindaishi yanjiusuo, 2013).



“With no meat, one becomes thin” : The invention and spread of Dongpo pork

This talk analyzes the history of Dongpo pork through a variety of approaches. The dish is named after Su Shi (1036-1101), a famous scholar-poet who lived in the Song Dynasty, who was also known as Su Dongpo. Although it is possible that Su Shi might have invented a method of cooking pork, it was not called “Dongpo Pork” at the time, and the term did not appear until the Ming Dynasty. The method of cooking Dongpo pork also evolved over time. The method is described as paying attention first to the heat, and then to the variety of spices and the mixing of the sauce. In Ming and Qing times, it was not a dish for common people, but a favorite cuisine item among the literati and gentry. Dongpo pork became an important dish during elite banquets, and was also a common gift among friends. The popularity of Dongpo pork was linked to the veneration of Su Shi and the dish thus became a symbol of literati culture and identity. Dongpo pork became a main feature in Hangzhou cuisine only during the Republican Period. As Hangzhou restaurants gradually expanded their business to other parts of China, they vigorously promoted Dongpo pork as their signature dish, and even invented fictional accounts about Su Shi when he was an official in Hangzhou. Dongpo pork eventually spread overseas, most conspicuously to Japan, where it became widely regarded as a representative dish of Chinese literati culture.

Intervention dans le cadre du séminaire de Sandrine Ruhlmann : Anthropologie du compromis en Mongolie contemporaine

  • Mardi 26 novembre 2019, de 13h à 15h - EHESS, salle 6_51, 54 Bd Raspail – 75006 Paris


Luxurious women in late imperial China: A new view on the lives of women in Chinese history

Concerning the lives of women in Ming-Qing China, past research would emphasize how the constraints of Confucian ritual and foot binding would limit their mobility and freedom. Scholars would assume that Chinese women were confined to the inner quarters of their family home. Partially, such an overly pessimistic view was conditioned by negative narratives of Chinese tradition put forth particularly by May Fourth intellectuals, who in their quest for a new culture had no time for a more nuanced view of history. But what about the role women in Ming Qing China held in regard to consumption? For instance, in how far can we describe specific characteristics of female consumption and leisure activities? Were women allowed to go shopping independently, and if so, what kinds of spaces were allotted to them to do so? Given the broad attention of scholars to consumption in late imperial China, past research has remained surprisingly silent on these questions.

Intervention dans le cadre du séminaire de Luca Gabbiani : Histoire sociale, économique et institutionnelle de la Chine moderne (XVe-XXe siècles)

  • Jeudi 28 novembre 2019, de 10h à 12h - EHESS, salle 7_37, 54 Bd Raspail – 75006 Paris


“Paradise” after disaster: City life in Suzhou during the anti-Japanese war

This talk explores Suzhou urban life under Japanese occupation during the Sino-Japanese War in 1937–1945. It focuses on four leisure industries: teahouses, restaurants, hotels, and opium dens. It challenges past characterizations of declining leisure life during the Wang Jingwei puppet regime.  It shows that new social structures and wartime social attitudes drove “Suzhou’s splendor.” It provides a fascinating view of Suzhou’s darker side, including raising suicide rates, rampant violence, labor strife, and the commodification of women. Further, this book examines state-society relations in Suzhou under the Wang Jingwei regime. Using a bottom-up approach, this study shows that state penetration exceeded previous governments. In response to unprecedented levels of state dominance, the leisure industry adopted several measures to resist new controls. The study contributes to both the history of consumption and understanding of occupied China.

Intervention dans le cadre du séminaire de Xavier Paulès, Victor Louzon, David Serfass et Delphine Spicq : La Chine républicaine (1912-1949) : nouvelles approches historiques

  • Mardi 3 décembre 2019, de 15h à 17h - EHESS, salle 4, 105 Bd Raspail – 75006 Paris