Imperial Immortality: Political Culture in Traditional China

Yuri Pines: Research support from the Israeli Science Foundation, 2007-2011

This study aimed at explaining how the Chinese empire (221 BCE – 1912 CE) attained its unparalleled longevity. To answer this question, I analyzed pivotal ideas behind the empire’s creation and functioning, such as the emphasis on political unity and on the emperor’s absolute power, and examined how the four crucial political actors – the emperor, the intellectuals, local elites and the commoners – interacted among themselves through the imperial millennia. I have also suggested some considerations about the impact of traditional political culture on China’s modern development trajectory.  
The study resulted in a major publication: The Everlasting Empire: Traditional Chinese Political Culture and Its Enduring Legacy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012) ( ), in addition to numerous articles