The common question from the western point of view is of the sort; why did China lose its early leadership of productive technologies to Europe during the early modern period? Answers to this seemingly clear enquiry vary from general cultural inwardness to the interferences of imperial governance. This collection surveys such theories but alters the issue by raising the notion that Chinese technologies did not so much fail as move along a path different from that of Europe.
Our second collection on the Mindful Hand, also shifts common ground by querying and modifying common views of the links between knowledge and technique in early-modern European development. Scientific or related knowledge was not brought to technique as a socio-cultural gift from an educated elite to the working man. Rather, educated gents, practitioners, instrument makers, craftsfolk and technicians of all kinds intermingled both socially and in terms of the recognition of technical problems as well as in the assemblage of the mental, commercial and cognitive resources required to pursue innovative production projects.
About the Author
Ian Inkster is Research Professor of International History at Nottingham Trent University, UK.
Table of Contents
'Introduction to volume 29'. Ian Inkster
Special Issue: Chinese Technological History: The Great Divergence. Kent Deng Jerry Liu
'Editorial Introduction'. Deng Liu
'The Needham Question Updated: a Historiographical Survey and Elaboration' Patrick K. O'Brien
'Cultural Logics for the Regime of Useful Knowledge during the Ming and early Qing China c. 1400-1700' Jerry C.Y. Liu
'China and Science on the Eve of the 'Great Divergence' 1600-1800: A review of recent revisionist scholarship in Western languages' Harriet T. Zurndorfer
'Movers and Shakers of Knowledge in China during the Ming-Qing Period' Kent Deng
Special Issue: Mindful Hand. Lissa Roberts Ian Inkster
Introduction Lissa Roberts
'From darkness into light: The transformation of rock crystal into an object of adornment and revelation'. Alette Fleischer
'The Mindful Hands of Peasants: Construction of an Eight-Lock Staircase at Fonseranes, 1678-1679' Chandra Mukerji
'Enlightenment in Russian Hands: Instruments, Inventions, and Ivan Petrovich Kulibin in Eighteenth-Century St. Petersburg' Simon Werrett
'The mindful hand goes to Japan. Dutch-Japanese trade in the second half of the eighteenth century' Lissa Roberts
'Conclusions' Ian Inkster