History 297A / History 397A / HPS 297
Winter 1998
Undergraduate / Graduate Colloquium
Wednesday 3:15-5:05
History Corner (Building 200), Room 230

Roger Hart
Office: History Corner, Room 27
Office hours: T Th 2:00-3:00, and by appt.


This course adopts an interdisciplinary approach--drawing on cultural history, anthropology, gender studies, and philosophy--to the study of Chinese science, technology, and medicine analyzed in its intellectual, social, and cultural context. The course is designed for students interested in i) the history, philosophy and anthropology of science, technology, and medicine; ii) East Asian studies; iii) studies of 'non-Western' cultures. We will also critically assess the conclusions on 'culture' derived from the received historiography on Chinese science, and examine emerging trends in current research. Knowledge of Chinese is not required for the course.


i) Class attendance is mandatory.

ii) Reading assignments: before class you must write a brief summary and critique of the readings, to be sent to me by email. Notes on each of the readings should usually be about two paragraphs--one summarizing the central argument and one offering critical analysis--for a total of 2-5 pages per week. These will be graded (distinguished, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory) and will serve as the basis for class discussions. Students are encouraged to rewrite the assignments on the basis of our class discussions.

iii) Final papers: Students must complete a 'think piece' as a final paper, 10-20 pages in length. (The reading notes should also help in writing the final papers, but the final paper must not be a compilation of the reading notes). Students with a reading knowledge of modern or classical Chinese are encouraged to use primary sources in their final paper.

iv) Grading: final paper 60%; reading assignments 20%; class participation 20%.



Hist 297A / Hist 397A / HPS 297 Course Reader.

Francesca Bray. Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.

Recommended (on Reserve)

Hashimoto, Keizo et al. eds. East Asian Science: Tradition and Beyond. Osaka: Kansai University Press, 1995.

Horton, Robin and Ruth Finnegan, eds. Modes of Thought: Essays on Thinking in Western and Non-Western Societies. London: Faber, 1973.

Huff, Toby E. The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Lloyd, G. E. R. Adversaries and Authorities: Investigations into Ancient Greek and Chinese Science. Ideas in Context. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Lloyd, G.E.R. Demystifying Mentalities. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Martzloff, Jean-Claude. A History of Chinese Mathematics. Translated by Stephen S. Wilson. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1997.

Nakayama, Shigeru. A History of Japanese Astronomy: Chinese Background and Western Impact. Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, vol. 18. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969.

Needham, Joseph. Science in Traditional China: A Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981.

Needham, Joseph. The Grand Titration: Science and Society in East and West. Boston: G. Allen & Unwin, 1979.

Reardon-Anderson, James. The Study of Change: Chemistry in China, 1840-1949. Studies of the East Asia Institute, Columbia University. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Sivin, Nathan, ed. Science and Technology in East Asia. History of Science: Selections from Isis. New York: Science History Publications, 1977.

Sivin, Nathan. Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections, Variorum Collected Studies Series (Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1995).

Sivin, Nathan. Science in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections. Variorum Collected Studies Series. Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1995.

Tambiah, S. J. Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.


January 7: Introduction

January 14: Science and the Imagined Communities 'China' and 'the West'

Required Readings

Joseph Needham, "Poverties and Triumphs of Chinese Scientific Tradition," reprinted in The Grand Titration: Science and Society in East and West (Boston: G. Allen & Unwin, 1979).

Nathan Sivin, "Comparing Greek and Chinese Philosophy and Science," reprinted in Sivin, Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections, Variorum Collected Studies Series (Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1995).

G. E. R. Lloyd, Adversaries and Authorities: Investigations Into Ancient Greek and Chinese Science, Ideas in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), chap. 10, "Science in Antiquity: The Greek and Chinese Cases and Their Relevance to the Problems of Cognition."

Roger Hart, "On the Problem of Chinese Science," forthcoming in The Science Studies Reader, edited by Mario Biagioli (New York: Routledge, 1998).

Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), 91-120.

Supplementary Readings

Sivin, "Why the Scientific Revolution Did Not Take Place in China--Or Didn't It?" reprinted in Science in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections, Variorum Collected Studies Series (Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1995).

Jacques Gernet, "Christian and Chinese Visions of the World in the Seventeenth Century," Chinese Science 4 (1980): 1-17.

Derk Bodde, Chinese Thought, Society, and Science: The Intellectual and Social Background of Science and Technology in Pre-Modern China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991).

Toby E. Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966).

Robin Horton, "African Traditional Thought and Western Science," in Rationality, ed. Bryan R. Wilson (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), 131-171.

January 21: Technologies of Writing, Ritual, and Statecraft in Early China

Required Readings

David N. Keightley, "Archaeology and Mentality: The Making of China," Representations 18 (1987): 91-128.

David N. Keightley, "Art, Ancestors, and the Origins of Writing in China," Representations 56 (1996): 68-95.

Lothar von Falkenhausen, Suspended Music: Chime-Bells in the Culture of Bronze Age China (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993), chap. 9, "Music Suspended: Tone Theory and Its Political Ramifications."

Nathan Sivin, "State, Cosmos, and Body in the Last Three Centuries B.C.," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 55 no. 1 (1995): 5-37.

A. C. Graham and Nathan Sivin, "A systematic approach to the Mohist optics (ca. 300 B.C.)," in Chinese Science: Explorations of An Ancient Tradition, ed. Nathan Sivin and Shigeru Nakayama, MIT East Asian Science Series, vol. 2 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1973).

Michel Foucault, "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 76-100.

Supplementary Readings

A. C. Graham, Later Mohist Logic, Ethics and Science (London: School of Oriental Studies, University of London, 1978).

Donald B. Wagner, Iron and Steel in Ancient China (Leiden: Brill, 1993).

Jack Goody, The Domestication of the Savage Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977).

January 28: Astronomy and Cosmography

Required Readings

Christopher Cullen, Astronomy and Mathematics in Ancient China: The Zhou bi suan jing (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 20-67.

Nathan Sivin, "Cosmos and Computation in Early Chinese Mathematical Astronomy," reprinted in Sivin, Science in Ancient China.

Chu Ping-yi, "Scientific Dispute in the Imperial Court: The 1664 Calendar Case," Chinese Science 14 (1997): 7-34.

Mario Biagioli, Galileo, Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), chap. 2, "Discoveries and Etiquette."

Supplementary Readings

Shigeru Nakayama, A History of Japanese Astronomy: Chinese Background and Western Impact, Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, vol. 18 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969).

Thomas S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957).

O. Neugebauer, A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1975).

February 4: Mathematical Practices, Local Knowledges

Required Readings

Urlich Libbrecht, Chinese Mathematics in the Thirteenth Century, the Shu-Shu Chiu-Chang of Ch'in Chiu-Shao (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1973), chaps. 1-2.

Karine Chemla, "Theoretical Aspects of the Chinese Algorithmic Tradition (1st to 3rd Century)," Historia Scientiarum 42 (1991): 75-98.

Christopher Cullen, "How Can We Do the Comparative History of Mathematics? Proof in Liu Hui and the Zhou Bi," Philosophy and the History of Science: A Taiwanese Journal 4 no. 1 (1995): 59-94.

Roger Hart, "Local Knowledges, Local Contexts: Mathematics in Yuan and Ming China," forthcoming in The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition, edited by Richard Von Glahn and Paul Smith.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, ed. G. H. von Wright, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1967), § V-5 to V-16.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell, 1969), § 143, § 185-241.

Supplementary Readings

Jean-Claude Martzloff, A History of Chinese Mathematics, trans. Stephen S. Wilson (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1997).

Li Yan and Du Shiran, Chinese Mathematics: A Concise History, trans. John N. Crossley and Anthony W.-C. Lun (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987).

Catherine Jami, "Scholars and Mathematical Knowledge During the Late Ming and Early Qing," Historia Scientiarum no. 42 (1990): 99-109.

Catherine Jami, Les "Methodes Rapides Pour la Trigonometrie et le Rapport Precis du Cercle" (1774): Tradition Chinoise et Apport Occidental en Mathematiques (Paris: College de France, Institut des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, 1990).

Joseph Needham and Ling Wang, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3, Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959).

February 11: Alchemy and Daoism

Required Readings

Michel Strickmann, "On the Alchemy of T'ao Hung-ching," in Facets of Taoism: Essays in Chinese Religion, ed. Holmes Welch and Anna Seidel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 123-192.

Nathan Sivin, "Chinese Alchemy and the Manipulation of Time," reprinted in Sivin, ed., Science and Technology in East Asia (New York: Science History Publications, 1977), 109-122.

Mirceau Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1978), 109-26.

Supplementary Readings

Nathan Sivin, Chinese Alchemy: Preliminary Studies, Harvard Monographs in the History of Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968).

James Reardon-Anderson, The Study of Change: Chemistry in China, 1840-1949, Studies of the East Asia Institute, Columbia University (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).

Dobbs, Betty Jo. The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy: Or, "The Hunting of the Greene Lyon." New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975.

February 18: Chinese Medicine

Required Readings

Christopher Cullen, "Patients and Healers in Late Imperial China: Evidence from the Jinpingmei," History of Science 31 no. 2 (1993): 99-150.

Angela Leung, "Transmission of Medical Knowledge from the Sung to the Ming," forthcoming in The Song-Yuan-Ming Transition, edited by Richard Von Glahn and Paul Smith.

Robert P. Hymes, "Not Quite Gentlemen? Doctors in Sung and Yuan," Chinese Science 8 (1987): 9-76.

Charlotte Furth, "Androgynous Males and Deficient Females: Biology and Gender Boundaries in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century China," Late Imperial China 9 no. 2 (1988): 1-31.

Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990), chap. 6, "Sex Socialized."

Supplementary Readings

Carol Benedict, "Policing the Sick: Plague and the Origins of State Medicine in Late Imperial China," Late Imperial China 14 no. 2 (1993): 60-77.

Judith Farquhar, Knowing Practice: The Clinical Encounter of Chinese Medicine, Studies in the Ethnographic Imagination (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994).

Manfred Porkert, The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Systems of Correspondence (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1974).

Paul U. Unschuld, Introductory Readings in Classical Chinese Medicine: Sixty Texts with Vocabulary and Translation, a Guide to Research Aids and a General Glossary (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1988).

Paul U. Unschuld, Medicine in China: A History of Ideas (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985).

February 25: Technology and Everyday Life

Required Readings

Francesca Bray, Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Later Imperial China (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997), Introduction, chaps. 1, 4-6.

Robert Hartwell, "Coal and Iron in Northeast China 750-1350."

Marc Bloch, "The Advent and Triumph of the Watermill," in Land and Work in Mediaeval Europe: Selected Papers, trans. J. E. Anderson, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967), 136-168.

Supplementary Readings

Francesca Bray, The Rice Economies: Technology and Development in Asian Societies (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994).

Klaas Ruitenbeek, Carpentry and Building in Late Imperial China: A Study of the 15th-Century Carpenter's Manual "Lu Ban Jing," Sinica Leidensia 23 (Leiden: Brill, 1993).

Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989).

Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

March 4: Ideologies of Science, Democracy, and Modernity in 20th Century China

Required Readings

Benjamin Elman, "Natural Studies in Ming China: A Reconsideration," MS.

Wang Hui, "Fate of 'Mr. Science' in China: The Concept of Science and Its Application in Modern Chinese Thought," reprinted in Tani E. Barlow, ed., Formations of Colonial Modernity in East Asia (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1997).

Peter Buck, American Science and Modern China, 1876-1936 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980), chap. 6, "Modernization and Its Discontents: The Scientific Method in China and America."

Supplementary Readings

H. Lyman Miller, Science and Dissent in Post-Mao China: The Politics of Knowledge (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996).

March 11: Current Research

In this final week we will read several conference papers from "Intersecting Areas and Disciplines: Cultural Studies of Chinese Science, Technology and Medicine," to be held at the Center for Chinese Studies, UC Berkeley, February 27-28, 1998.

Supplementary Readings

Lydia H. Liu, Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture, and Translated Modernity--China, 1900-1937 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), chap. 1: "Introduction: The Problem of Language in Cross-Cultural Studies."

Judith Farquhar, "'Medicine and the Changes are One': An Essay on Divination Healing with Commentary," Chinese Science 13 (1996): 107-134.

Marta Hanson, "Merchants of Medicine: Huizhou Mercantile Consciousness, Morality, and Medical Patronage in Seventeenth-Century China," in Keiji Hashimoto, Catherine Jami, and Lowell Skar, eds., East Asian Science: Tradition and Beyond (Papers from the Seventh International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia, Kyoto 2-7 August 1993), 207-14.

Bridie Andrews, "Wang Qingren and the History of Chinese Anatomy," Journal of Chinese Medicine 36 (1991): 30-36.

Roger Hart. "How to Do Things with Worlds: Incommensurability, Translation, and Problems of Existence in Seventeenth-Century China." Forthcoming in Transnational Globalism, edited by Lydia H. Liu. Stanford: Stanford University Press.