Born and brought up in a normal family in Hong Kong, Ka Ki Alan Ho mainly received Cantonese mother-tongue education until being admitted to the New Asia College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He picked up English, Putonghua and Japanese since then through a rocky and windy road. Alan holds a Bachelor of Arts with 1st class honor and a Master of Philosophy with history major from CUHK.
In the past years, he gave paper presentations on his research on the Silk Routes and the Eastern Han frontier history during the 1st century CE in several regional conferences in Canada, U.S., Japan and Hong Kong. He also participated in several graduate conferences in McGill as well as Harvard.
The primary research questions to be addressed in this paper are as follows:
Is the standard narrative, that holds that, after surrendering to Guangwudi (r. 25 CE – 57 CE), all or most political agents claimed to be supporters or descendants of Han correct? Hans Bielenstein, for one, explains this phenomenon by pointing to the people’s perception of the Han dynasty as a living legitimate dynasty. According to this narrative, internal struggles were relinquished for the sincere pursuit of “Great Unity” (dayitong 大一統). Another possibility is that identities were more fragmented, and that, like in Rome, Han imperial identities provided only a partial and distorted view of the complexity of societies and social relations.
(2) If we abandon the idea of a continuous identity from Western to Eastern Han, how then should we conceptualize how the newly founded empire worked in its early period?