Berg-Becker, Zachary

Field: Pre-Modern Chinese History; Advisor: Hymes; Year: 2016

Zach Berge-Becker specializes in the writings and worldviews of the Song dynasty gentry (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 gentlemanly priorities and values. His current research focuses on methods of self-categorization within certain Northern Song gentry 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).