Field: East Asia
Advisor: Robert Hymes
Zach Berge-Becker specializes in the writings and worldviews of Song dynasty elites (shi, 士). He received his BA from McGill University, and his MA at Columbia. His MA thesis compared conceptions of reputation in the writings of Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019-1086) and Shao Yong 邵雍 (1011-1077), to demonstrate that reputation can be an effective lens through which to better understand a broad range of elite priorities and values. His current research focuses on Northern Song elite methods of self-categorization within certain social networks, observing the ways in which their identities were constructed not only relative to each other and their aristocratic predecessors, but also in relation to other members of Song society. When not immersed in Song poetry and prose, he is also a student of the Mei’an (梅庵) style of playing the ancient zither (guqin, 古琴).