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Catherine Jami, Centre national de la recherche scientifique and the Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

Tue January 17th 2017, 4:30pm
Event Sponsor
Co-sponsored by CEAS
Bldg 200 Room 307

Science and Empire: The view from from Beijing, c. 1700

Abstract: Twentieth century historiography has consistently depicted China as patient rather than as agent in the history of imperialism. This view ignores the fact that from the mid-seventeenth century onwards, Beijing was the centre of a large and aggressively expanding empire, an empire unique in that the great majority of its conquests remain intact to the present day. The neglected example of this great land empire enables us to transcend the stereotype of science and empire studies as mainly or solely concerned with the expansion of European powers overseas. In this talk, I will show how the sciences of empire were constructed during the first century of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Conversely, I will explore the extent to and the ways in which the Qing expansion in central Asia broadened the Chinese world of knowledge.