Emily Wang Humanities and Social Science
Network of a Ninth Century Poet: Visualizing the Social Life of Bai Juyi
Bai Juyi (aka Bo Juyi, ca. 8th9th century CE), one of the most renowned poets in Chinese history, was also a well-connected civil bureaucrat from a family based in the Tang capital. Past studies have focused principally on the deeds and accomplishments of the Tang aristocracy, but their social interactions remain largely unstudied. My project proposes to investigate the social network of the late Tang elites by conducting a social network analysis of Bai Juyi. The evidence for Bai Juyis social interactions can be assembled from a range of sources, including poem titles, letters, and tomb epitaphs, and their sheer volume allows for an in-depth reconstruction of Bais social network. This study attempts to trace, measure, and visualize Bais social connections, disambiguate his associates, and contextualize the patterns of geographical dispersion, social statuses, age, and lineages in his network. In the long term, I aim to investigate how a member of the Tang aristocracy interacted within the broader literary networks, political factions and marriage alliances.