Asian Studies seminar: 13.Oct.2021, 2 – 4pm

Speaker: Professor James M. Hargett 何瞻 , Professor of Chinese Studies, The University at Albany, State University of New York

Title: Anchors of Stability: The Origins of Place Names in China

Chair/Discussant: Dr Julian Ward, University of Edinburgh

Date and Time: Wednesday, 13 Oct. 2 – 4 pm (UK time)

Location: Online via Zoom


Please register in advance for this lecture. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


The use of place-names in China predates its written history, which extends back at least 3,500 years. While the basic principles of toponym formation in ancient China are similar to those in other cultures around the world, early in its history a process took place that led to a standardization of the practices by which place-names were formulated. The central argument in this essay is that the essential features of place-name nomenclature in China were already in place before the Qin unification in 221 BCE.

Speaker Bio: 

Prof. James M. Hargett (何瞻is Professor of Chinese Studies at The University at Albany, State University of New York. He received his PhD from Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. His research interest focuses on the prose literature, travel diaries, historical-geography, and cultural history of traditional China, especially that of the Song dynasty (960-1279). His recent publications include Jade Mountains and Cinnabar PoolsThe History of Travel Literature in Imperial China (University of Washington Press, 2018) and “Anchors of Stability: Place-Names in Early China” in Sino-Platonic Papers (2021).