A Cultural History of Modern Science in China

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Overview

Historians of science and Sinologists have long needed a unified narrative to describe the Chinese development of modern science, medicine, and technology since 1600. They welcomed the appearance in 2005 of Benjamin Elman's masterwork, On Their Own Terms. Now Elman has retold the story of the Jesuit impact on late imperial China, circa 1600-1800, and the Protestant era in early modern China from the 1840s to 1900 in a concise and accessible form ideal for the classroom. This coherent account of the emergence of modern science in China places that emergence in historical context.
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Editorial Reviews

Science
Elman's study is a tremendous achievement, both in its analytical insight and empirical depth.
— Thomas S. Mullaney
Isis
In this concise but comprehensive new book, Elman makes his masterful synthesis of the scholarship in the field--including his own--accessible to nonspecialists. A textbook treating modern Chinese science up to 1900, long awaited, has at last emerged.
— Danian Hu
Nature
In this concise, accessible, but comprehensive book, Benjamin Elman describes the effects on science of the Jesuit mission in imperial China in 1600–1800, and the latter influence of Protestants in the nineteenth century. By doing so, he places the emergence of modern science in China in historical context.
Times Literary Supplement
Elman shows that progress in Chinese science continued after 1600, as it absorbed new ideas from the West, and, for him, China's nineteenth-century failure to respond adequately to Western incursions has been exaggerated...[A Cultural History of Modern Science in China] offer[s] a new and important perspective on Sino-European interaction.
— Delia Davin
Times Literary Supplement

Elman shows that progress in Chinese science continued after 1600, as it absorbed new ideas from the West, and, for him, China's nineteenth-century failure to respond adequately to Western incursions has been exaggerated...[A Cultural History of Modern Science in China] offer[s] a new and important perspective on Sino-European interaction.
— Delia Davin

Science

Elman's study is a tremendous achievement, both in its analytical insight and empirical depth.
— Thomas S. Mullaney

Isis

In this concise but comprehensive new book, Elman makes his masterful synthesis of the scholarship in the field—including his own—accessible to nonspecialists. A textbook treating modern Chinese science up to 1900, long awaited, has at last emerged.
— Danian Hu

Nature
In this concise, accessible, but comprehensive book, Benjamin Elman describes the effects on science of the Jesuit mission in imperial China in 1600–1800, and the latter influence of Protestants in the nineteenth century. By doing so, he places the emergence of modern science in China in historical context.
Times Literary Supplement - Delia Davin
Elman shows that progress in Chinese science continued after 1600, as it absorbed new ideas from the West, and, for him, China's nineteenth-century failure to respond adequately to Western incursions has been exaggerated...[A Cultural History of Modern Science in China] offer[s] a new and important perspective on Sino-European interaction.
Science - Thomas S. Mullaney
Elman's study is a tremendous achievement, both in its analytical insight and empirical depth.
Isis - Danian Hu
In this concise but comprehensive new book, Elman makes his masterful synthesis of the scholarship in the field--including his own--accessible to nonspecialists. A textbook treating modern Chinese science up to 1900, long awaited, has at last emerged.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Benjamin A. Elman is Gordon Wu '58 Professor of Chinese Studies, Professor of East Asian Studies and History, and Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies at Princeton University.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Conventions xi

Chinese Dynasties xiii

Introduction 1

1 The Jesuit Legacy 15

2 Recovering the Chinese Classics 36

3 The Rise of Imperial Chinese Manufacturing and Trade 68

4 Science and the Protestant Mission 100

5 From Textbooks to Darwin: Modern Science Arrives 132

6 Government Arsenals Spur New Technologies 158

7 The Displacement of Traditional Chinese Science and Medicine 198

Appendixes

1 Tang Mathematical Classics 229

2 "Science Outline Series," 1882-1898 232

3 Table of Contents for the 1886 Primers for Science Studies 234

4 Twenty-three Fields of the Sciences in the 1886 Primers for Science Studies 235

5 Some Officially Selected Chinese Prize Essay Topics from the Shanghai Polytechnic 237

6 Some Translations of Chemistry, 1855-1873 239

7 Partial Chronological List of Arsenals, etc., in China, 1861-1892 240

Notes 243

Acknowledgments 285

Index 287

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