Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU>
From: Richard White <Richard.White@dial.pipex.com>
Subject: H-ASIA: Q. Texts on science in Asia
Texts on science in Asia
A dialog from H-Asia-LBy
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 17:03:13 +0100
From: Jeffrey G. Barlow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Suggestions for texts requested: I am planning a course to be taught at the
300 level on the development of science in Asia, within a largely historical
framework. To the degree that I concentrate upon any particular area, it
will be the medical sciences, and upon China and Japan rather than other
I welcome suggestions for appropriate texts, and particularly for texts with
a comparative aspect---Asian science compared with Western developments,
etc. I am familiar with the Needham series and its various permutations.
Jeffrey G. Barlow Professor of History
Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon USA 97116
From: Andrew Kipnis <email@example.com>
With regard to Jeffrey Barlow's request for textbooks about Japanese or
Chinese medical science, I suggest Judith Farquhar's _Knowing Practice_,
Anthropology OR Contemporary China Centre
RSPAS; Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 0200
61-2-6249-2373, 6249-3047, Fax 6257-3642, 6249-4896
From: T J Hinrichs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bibliographies and course syllabi, as well as links to web pages on Chinese
science and medicine, can be found at the Chimed web site, edited and
maintained by Yi-Li Wu.
From: Donald Baker <email@example.com>
There are a number of books on Chinese medicine which undergraduates would
I have used Ho Peng Yoke's Li, Qi, and Shu: _An Introduction to Science and
Civilization in China_ useful in introducing the basic concepts of Chinese
A readable but not particularly exciting history of Chinese medicine is
Dominique and Marie-Joseph Hoizey's _A History of Chinese Medicine_.
More popular introductions to Chinese medicine would include:
Ted Kaptchuk, _The Web That Has No Weaver_
Daniel Reid, _The Shambhala Guide to Traditional Chinese
and a book that is not designed for academic use but has lots of visual
illustrations which will help students visualize Chinese medicine:
Tom Williams, _The Complete Ilustrated Guide to Chinese Medicine_.
Univ. of British Columbia
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 19:11:12 -0500
From: Zuoyue Wang <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To respond to Prof. Barlow's query about texts on science in Asia: This
last semester I taught a upper division course, with discussions, on
"Chinese Science in the Twentieth Century" at UC Berkeley. Here are the
texts I used:
James Reardon-Anderson, The Study of Change: Chemistry in China, 1840-1949
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991).
Iris Chang, Thread of the Silkworm (New York: Basic Books, 1996).
H. Lyman Miller, Science and Dissent in Post-Mao China: The Politics of
Knowledge (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996).
I suspect the Reardon-Anderson book will be especially suitable if you
plan to emphasize medicine: It provides a broad background on science in
China in that period, with a focus on chemistry but also much on
biochemistry and medical education. Unfortunately it's available only in
expensive hardback, but one can apparently still order it from Barnes and
Noble website with a substantial discount.
Another book we read and discussed was James R. Bartholomew, The Formation
of Science in Japan: Building a Research Tradition (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1989). It's probably the best text on Japanese science.
I also showed a four-part NOVA video, one hour each, in the class with
very good effect. It's very well done and especially valuable since it
takes a comparative approach, contrasting the responses of China and
Japan to Western threats and their paths to modernization in the last two
The Genius That Was China, production of Film Australia in association
with WGBH, Boston for NOVA. Deerfield, IL: Coronet Film & Video, 1990.
Part 1: The Rise of the Dragon; Part 2: Empires in Collision; Part 3: The
Threat from Japan; Part 4: Will the Dragon Rise Again?
Department of History
University of California, Berkeley
From: Gunder Frank <email@example.com>
Jeffrey Barlow requests refs to science in Asia. Well, I already responded
to a similar request a couple of years ago with the posting below. Since
it raised a storm of protest, maybe you should omit the
'introduction/presentation' or just never mind the whole thing, also since
Prof. Barlow wants especially stuff on China and medicine, which this is not.
But I recall that my 1997 posting was in response to someone who also was
interested primarily in medical science, albeit not in China.
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 09:57:21 -0800
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA@H-NET.MSU.EDU>
Subject: H-ASIA: Transfer of science/technology
A bibliography of references on science and technology in extension
of discussion of historical technology transfers between Europe and India
Andre Gunder Frank has very kindly sent on these materials in extension to
the earlier posts on technology transfers in historical perspective. In
several places, the incoming post was truncated, in most of these, I have
attempted to supply missing names or letters. Thanks also to Alex McKay
at the IIAS Leiden for supplying some missing bibliographic data.
From: A. Gunder Frank <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SELECTED REFERENCES ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY and its TRANSFER 1500 to 1800
used/compiled by Andre Gunder Frank
At the express request of our H-ASIA list "owner," I here compile
the major, but not the only, sources [and of course there are many
more, eg. also multi-volume compendia on India], that I used to prepare
the section on "science and technology" in my forthcoming book EAST &
WEST: GLOBAL ECONOMY IN THE ASIAN AGE. This section makes the
1. Much of the treatment of this problematique has been far too
Eurocentric. Alas that also includes a number of Asian authors
and publications whose works I have so classified below.
2. The relevance if not the existence of the famous [seventeenth
century] "scientific revolution" is only a European myth. In any
case, Western science had NO discernible input into or impact on
the development of technology before about 1870.
3. Asian science and technology was not "backward" or "stagnant"
before the industrial revolution, and in many cases as much or
more "developed" and still "developING" as that of Europe.
4. Technology transfer went and continued to go in all sorts of
directions, intra-Asian, East to West, and West to East.
5. The development, transfer, adaptn and an of tecolog
and of related institutional developments were not so much
pristinely "national" or even "regional," as they were the
rational responses to relative factor and opportunity costs at
each time and place around the world, which were generated in and
by the GLOBAL economy itself.
CLASSIFICATORY SYMBOLS explained:
In keeping with the above, I have classified and identified the
sources below as follows;
E = European/ centric
A = Asian illuminating
EA = Mostly European/ centric, but also offers some illumination
that can be and I have used to make a better case for Asia,
absolute and/or relative to Europe.
EA- Adams, Robert McC. 1996. Paths of Fire: An Anthropologist's
Inquiry into Western Technology, Princeton: Princeton
A- al-Hassan, Ahmand Y. and Donald R. Hill 1986. Islamic
Technology. An Illustrated History. Paris:UNESCO.
E- Bernal, J.D. 1969. Science in History. 3 Vols. Harmondsworth:
E- Chapman, S.D. 1972. The Cotton Industry in the Industrial
Revolution. London: Macmillan.
E- Crombie, A.C. 1959. Medieval and Early Modern Science Vol. II
Science in the Later Middle Ages and Early Modern Times:
XIII-XVII Centuries. New York: Doubleday.
A- Dharampal 1971. Indian Science and Technology in the
Eighteenth Century. Some Contemporary European Accounts.
Delhi :Impex India.
EA- Cipolla, Carlo M. 1967. Canones y Velas.La Primera Fase de la
Expansion Europea 1400-1700. Barcelona: Ariel.
A- Grant, Jonathan 1996. Rethinking the Ottoman "Decline:"
Military Technology Diffusion in the Ottoman Empire 15th-
18th Centuries. Paper presented at the World History
Association meetings in Pomona, Calif. June 20-22.
E- Habib, Irfan 1969. "Potentialities of Capitalistic Development
in the Economy of Mughal India" Journal of Economic History
XXIX,1, March: 13-31.
E- ------ 1980. "The Technology and Economy of Mughal India" The
Indian Economic and Social History Review XVII,1, January-
EA- Kuhn, Thomas S. 1969. "Comment" Comparative Studies in
Society and History 11:426-30.
EA- ----- 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolution. 2nd. Ed.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
A- Kuppuram, G. and K. Kumudamani 1990. History of Science and
Technology in India. 12 volumes. Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan.
A- MacLeod, Roy, and Deepak Kumar, eds. 1995. Technology and the
Raj. Western Technology and Technical Transfers to India,
1700-1947. New Delhi: Sage.
EA- McNeill, William 1983. The Pursuit of Power: Technology,
Armed Force and Society since AD 1000. Oxford: Blackwell.
EA- ----- 1989. The Age of Gunpowder Empires 1450-1800.
Washington D.C.: American Historical Association.
A- Nasr, S.H. 1976 Islamic Science. World of Islam Festival.
A/ Needham, Joseph 1954-. Civilization in China. Multiple vols.
Cambridge: Cambridge Univerity Press.
A- ------ 1964. "Science and China's Influence on the World" in
The Legacy of China edited by Raymond Dawson. Oxford:
A- ----- 1981. Science in Traditional China. A Comparative
Perspective. Hong Kong: The Chineese University Press.
EA- Pacey, Arnold 1990. Technology in World Civilization. Oxford:
EA- ------ 1991. "Europe and the Wider World, 1500-1750: The
Militry Balance" in James D. Tracy, Ed. The Political
Economy of Merchant Empires. Cambridge: Cambridge University
E- Prakash, Om 1995 "Asia and the Pre-Modern World Economy"
International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden
[IIAS Lecture Series No.4 [Paul van der Velde - Editor]
A- Ramaswamy, Vijaya 1980. "Notes on the Textile Technology in
Medieval India with Special Reference to the South" The
Indian Economic and Social History Review XVII, 2: 227-241.
A- Ronan, Colin A. 1986. The Shorter Science and Civilization in
China. An Abridgment of Joseph Needham's Original Text. Vol.
3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
A- Saliba, George 1996. "Arab Influences on the Renaissance,"
Paper at the 5th Annual Conference of the World Historical
Association, Pomona, CA, June 21.
A- Sangwan, Satpal 1995. "The Sinking Ships: Colonial Policy and
the Decline of Indian Shipping, 1735-1835" in Roy MacLeod
and Deepak Kumar, eds. 1995. Technology and the Raj. Western
Technology and Technical Transfers to India, 1700-1947.
EA- Shapin, Steve 1996. Scientific Revolution. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
A- Sivin, N. 1982. "Why the Scientific Revolution Did Not Take
Place in China - Or Didnt't It?" Explorations in the History
of Science and Technology in China. Compiled in Honour of
the 80th Brithday of Dr. J. Needham. Shanghai. Also in
Chinese Science 5:45-66.
E- Qaisar, Ahsan Jan 1982. The Indian Response to European
Technology and Culture (A.D. 1498-1707). Delhi: Oxford
Date: Sun, 30 May 1999 19:27:12 +0100
From: Yi-Li Wu <Yiliw@aol.com>
I have just finished teaching an upper division seminar on the history of
medicine in China. A couple of recommendations:
1) Nathan Sivin has published several articles which compare Western and
Chinese "scientific" thought. See "Why the Scientific Revolution Did Not
Take Place in China--Or Didn't It?" _Chinese Science_1982, 5:45-66. See
also the articles in Sivin, _Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient
China_ (Aldershot: Variorum, 1995): "Comparing Greek and Chinese Philosophy
and Science;" "On the Limits of Empirical Knowledge in Chinese and Western
2) One book which my (mostly pre-med) students enjoyed immensely was Brian
McKnight's translation of a Song dynasty coroner's manual (Xi yuan ji lu),
under the title_The Washing Away of Wrongs_. (UM Center for Chinese
Studies, 1981, paperback). McKnight's intro compares Chinese and European
forensic law, the translation is highly readable, and the anatomical
illustrations (from the original text) are compelling. I used it because it
gave students a very different view of Chinese "medicine" and "the body"
than you will get from classical medical treatises.
3) Charlotte Furth's new book _A Flourishing Yin_ (UC Press, 1999) has a
lot to offer. The first part is implicitly comparative, drawing on Thomas
Laqueur's work in order to analyze Chinese ideas about gender. Her book
also contains two wonderful chapters on Ming dynasty doctors (one male, one
female), their practices, and their patients which I think would be readily
accessible to undergraduates with no prior exposure to Chinese
culture/medicine. The book had not come out in time for me to use it in my
class, but I did use some of her articles. My undergrads liked her
"Concepts of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Infancy in Qing dynasty China,"
_JAS_46.1(1987):7-35, which is a standard work in the field.
Dept. of History
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 21:40:48 +0100
From: Peter J. Golas <email@example.com>
In regard to Mr. Wang's suggestion of the usefulness of the 4-hour Nova
series "The Genius That Was China": I too consider this to be a very useful
video. Unfortunately, extensive efforts by our media services and library
people have failed to locate any source for purchasing these videos. Can
University of Denver