Craft, Technology, and Material Culture in Early Modern Asia
Consisting of scholars of diverse disciplinary backgrounds from across North America and Asia, this group explores systems of artisanal knowledge and their social, cultural, and political significance in Asia from 1400 to 1800. An approach toward early modern science and technology through the lens of craft and material objects can lend itself to the study of diverse historical topics in both macro and micro-scales. Our group intends to build a flexible methodology of craft and materiality that can be used in the investigation of a wide range of research topics including knowledge production, artisanal community, statecraft, infrastructure, networks, commerce, environment, and foodways. We focus on the modality of craft – such as embodiment, skills, and oral transmission – as well as the material attributes of things as the locus of epistemic tension and technological appropriation through the study of texts, objects, and bodily practices. In addition, promoting perspectives of transnational, comparative, and connected histories, the working group will foster discussions about early modern empires, oceanic and silkroad connections, capitalism, migration, and border and frontier studies, which, to varying degrees, integrate (Eur-)Asia beyond the boundaries of the political states.
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Friday, December 1, 2023 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EST
We are going to discuss the changing concept of resources in the early modern and modern period.
“Focus: Resources in the Early Modern World,” Isis 114, no. 3 (September 1, 2023): 599–645, https://doi.org/10.1086/726186.
Peter B. Lavelle, The Profits of Nature: Colonial Development and the Quest for Resources in Nineteenth-Century China (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020), Chapter 2.
Friday, February 2, 2024 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EST
Friday, March 1, 2024 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EST
Friday, April 5, 2024 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EDT
Friday, May 3, 2024 11:00 am to 12:30 pm EDT
November 3, 2023
The discussion will be moderated by Anna Grasskamp.
- Robin Kelsey, "Ecology, Sustainability, and Historical Interpretation," American Art 28, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 8-13.
- Peter J. Golas, “Late Ming and The Exploitation of the Works of Nature,” in Picturing Technology in China : From Earliest Times to the Nineteenth Century (Hong Kong: HKU Press, 2015), pp. 97-124.
October 6, 2023
Sarah Teasley, "Sticky Solutions: The Persistence of Animal Glues in Laboratories and Workshops in Twentieth-Century Japan," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 53, no. 3 (June 2023): 278-307.
Tom H. Fisher, "What We Touch, Touches Us: Materials, Affects, and Affordances," Design Issues (2004) 20 (4): 20–31.
September 1, 2023
Ruth Rogaski, Knowing Manchuria, Environments, the Senses, and Natural Knowledge on an Asian Borderland (University of Chicago Press, 2022), introduction & chapter 3.
May 5, 2023
Susan Naquin, “The Bronze Ladies of Mt. Tai, 1600-1900,” in Gods of Mount Tai (Boston: Brill, 2022), 335-372.
Dorothy Ko, “'Fire, Walk with Me': Tales of Artisanal Body (Parts) and Innovation in Early Modern China,” in Crafting Enlightenment: Artisanal histories and transnational networks, (Liverpool University Press and University of Oxford, 2021), 273-296.
April 7, 2023
Rachel Silberstein, A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in Late Qing (Seattle: Washington University Press, 2020), Introduction and chapter 3.
March 3, 2023
Susan Naquin, "Popularization through Pictures," in Gods of Mt. Tai (Boston: Brill, 2022), 373-414.
Kaijun Chen, "Imperial Models: Technology and Design in State Controlled Porcelain Manufacture in Early Modern China," History and Technology 38, issue 2-3 (October 2022): 1-17.
February 3, 2023
Valérie Nègre, “Craft Knowledge in the Age of Encyclopedism”, in Lauren R. Cannady and Jennifer Ferng (dir.), Crafting Enlightenment. Artisanal Histories and Transnational Networks, Liverpool University Press and University of Oxford, 2021, p. 303-333.
Valérie Nègre, “Production and circulation of Technical Knowledge on Building Sites at the End of the Eighteenth Century”, Journal of the History of Science and Technology, numéro special ‘Building Sites for Making Knowledge’, vol. 15, n° 2, December 2021, p. 17-33.
December 2, 2022
Houghteling, Sylvia. The Art of Cloth in Mughal India, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2022, ch. 2.
November 4, 2022
Davis Baird, Thing Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments (Berkeley: UC Press, 2004), chs. 2~3.
October 7, 2022
Francesca Bray, "Translating the Art of Tea: Naturalizing Chinese Savoir Faire in British Assam," in Pamela Smith ed., Entangled Itineraries: Materials, Practices, and Knowledges across Eurasia (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), 99-137.
Kyoungjin Bae, "Export Furniture and Artisanal Translation in Eighteenth-Century Canton," Isis 113.2 (June 2022): 310-330.
Kyoungjin Bae is James P. Storer assistant professor of Asian history at Kenyon College. She is an historian of everyday technology and material culture in early modern China. She received a Ph.D. in Global and International History from Columbia University and completed two postdoctoral fellowships at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan and the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. Her book manuscript examines Cantonese cabinet making and carpenters’ knowledge during the eighteenth century.
Yijun Wang is Assistant Professor of History at New York University as well as a 2020-2021 ACLS-Luce China Early Career fellow. She is a historian of material culture, history of technology and gender in early modern China. Yijun is interested in the connections between knowledge, technology, power, and capitalism. Her book manuscript examines the transmissions of tin mining technology and changes in statecraft in China from 1700 to the 1850s.
Yulian Wu is Assistant Professor of the History Department at Michigan State University. She specializes in material culture, gender relations, and Manchu studies in early modern China. She published her first book, Luxurious Networks: Salt Merchants, Status, and Statecraft in Eighteenth-Century China in 2017 (Stanford University Press). Her current project titled “Crafting Jade: The Construction of Objects and Empire in Eighteenth-Century China,” explores jade production and consumption in the High Qing period.