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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
May 1999

Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 17:03:13 +0100
From: Jeffrey G. Barlow <barlowj@pacificu.edu>

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 Asian areas.

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
e-mail: barlowj@pacificu.edu

From: Andrew Kipnis <kipnis@coombs.anu.edu.au>

With regard to Jeffrey Barlow's request for textbooks about Japanese or Chinese medical science, I suggest Judith Farquhar's _Knowing Practice_, Westview Press.

Andrew Kipnis
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 <tjhinric@fas.harvard.edu>

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.


TJ Hinrichs
Harvard University

From: Donald Baker <dbaker@interchange.ubc.ca>

There are a number of books on Chinese medicine which undergraduates would find readable.

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 science.

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 Medicine_

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_.

Associate Professor,
Asian Studies,
Univ. of British Columbia

Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 19:11:12 -0500
From: Zuoyue Wang <wang@library.ucsb.edu>

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 centuries:

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?

Zuoyue Wang
Visiting Lecturer
Department of History
University of California, Berkeley

From: Gunder Frank <agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca>

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.

gunder frank

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

Ed. note:
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 <agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca> SELECTED REFERENCES ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY and its TRANSFER 1500 to 1800 used/compiled by Andre Gunder Frank agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca


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 following claims:

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.


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 University Press.

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: Penguin.

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- March: 1-34.

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: Clarendon Press.

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 Press.

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 University Press.

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 Science."

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.

Yi-Li Wu
Assistant Professor
Dept. of History
Albion College

Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 21:40:48 +0100
From: Peter J. Golas <pgolas@du.edu>

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 anyone help?

Peter Golas
University of Denver

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