Now and Then: Retracing the Steps of Xu Xiake

Spring 2018 Grant Recipient


Ran Zhao (East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) Xu Xiake (1587-1641) was a Chinese geographer and travel writer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). He traveled throughout China for over 30 years, leaving detailed and extensive records of his travels. Xu's writing is also acclaimed for its high literary quality, including engaging personal narratives and elegant prose and poems on natural scenes in classical Chinese. This project will retrace Xu Xiake's steps, and along the way film images and videos, and write my own travel diaries. I would like to compare the now and then of the places Xu Xiake traveled to and documented around 400 years ago. This project will help develop a digital platform (a mobile app or a website) that integrates all the available resources (Manuscript, Classical Chinese, Modern Chinese, English Translation of Xu Xiake Youji), essays and research papers on Xu Xiake, and multimedia materials, including what I will be able to contribute after my trip/field work.