Technology, Empire, and Science in China


How did technology, science, and empire intersect in early modern and modern Chinese history? Was there a unique "Chinese" way of studying Nature? How did non-Chinese scientists and engineers contribute to China's knowledge of the world? This course offers a historical and historiographical survey of science and technology studies in China, from the thirteenth to the twentieth century. It particularly examines the global circulation of scientific knowledge in the late imperial period, the place of technology in the empire-building of the Qing dynasty (1637-1912), and the violent epistemic encounters between the West and China from the nineteenth century onward. Throughout the semester, we will explore Confucian scientists as well as Muslim geographers, Jesuit engineers, Manchu anatomies, and Chinese barefoot doctors. Positioning China within a global order, the students will question the premises of modern scientific discourses and try to respond to a seemingly simple question: what does science and technology even mean in a Chinese context?
Course Attributes: EN H; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM