American Science and Modern China, 1876-1936

American Science and Modern China, 1876-1936

by Peter Buck
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521135389

ISBN-13: 9780521135382

Pub. Date: 03/04/2010

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

American science and modern China is an essay in comparative history. It focuses on the transmission of scientific ideas and organizations from the United States to China, a topic interesting primarily for what it reveals about the social history of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American science. The main themes concern how scientific traditions and

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Overview

American science and modern China is an essay in comparative history. It focuses on the transmission of scientific ideas and organizations from the United States to China, a topic interesting primarily for what it reveals about the social history of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American science. The main themes concern how scientific traditions and institutions that were developed in one setting served as models for the creation of new ones elsewhere, what modifications were induced by this change of environment, and what these modifications imply about the interdependence of scientific knowledge and social life.

The book deals with a number of individuals and organizations involved in the development of modern science in China-the Medical Missionary Association of China, the Rockefeller Foundation and its China Medical Board, the architects of the Boxer indemnity fellowship program, and an association of largely American-trained Chinese scientists, the Science Society of China. Dr. Buck examines their views of science's place among the forces for change in China, describes their efforts to build institutional bases for science, and sets their plans and programs in broad social and intellectual contexts.

American and American-inspired approaches to the problem of developing science in China grew out of wider patterns of conflict and consensus in American society and politics. As those patterns changed, so did the social and scientific ambitions that Americans brought to China; thus China was affected by the rise of professionalized, specialized, and laboratory-centered sciences allied to American state power and corporate wealth. The development of those sciences determined the range of visions of science and social change that was presented to Chinese students in the United States. The latter part of the study is devoted to a discussion of how these images, when taken over by Chinese scientists in the 1910s and 1920s, became the core of a distinctive but ultimately unworkable conception of the ways in which science would transform China into a modern society.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521135382
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/04/2010
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction: Orienting American science 1

2 Social diseases and contagious disorders: missionary science and medical missionaries 8

Missionary science: social influence, natural theology, and medicine 10

Missionary medicine: science and Christian benevolence 13

Missionary hospitals: order and cleanliness in unregenerate societies 21

Missionary medical schools: professional standards, avocational science, and a native medical fraternity 33

Missionary science and its social problems 43

3 "To do their best for their country": the China Medical Board and the Boxer indemnity fellowship program 46

Corporate philanthropy and scientific medicine 48

Medicine in China 64

Checking "the downward tendencies of unregulated industrialism": the Boxer indemnity scholarships 74

4 Science and revolution: China in 1911 91

The Science Society of China 94

The ecology of scientific ambitions 99

Free associations and voluntary cooperation 116

5 "Science as a vocation": social diversity and scientific specialties 122

Cornell University I: Scientific research and industrial science 129

Cornell University II: Professional scientists, scientific professionals, and the state 139

Cornell University III: Scientific knowledge and country life 145

China's response to the West 161

6 Modernization and its discontents: the scientific method in China and America 171

The politics of cultural collapse 174

Ideology and institution building 185

Science and metaphysics 189

Scientific methods, American industrialism, and "the last remaining problem of civilization" 196

Modernization and methodology 205

7 "A sphere of influence in beneficence": American science and modern China 209

Backwardness and dependence 216

Tragedy and farce 226

Notes 237

Bibliography 264

Index 279

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