Craft, Technology, and Material Culture in Early Modern Asia

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Upcoming Meetings

There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.

Past Meetings

  • 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.

  • September 9, 2022

    For this week, we will read and discuss:
    Jakobina Arch, Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan (Washington University Press, 2018), introduction (3-22) and chapter 3 (79-109).

  • May 13, 2022

    For this week, we are going to read:
    Kang, Hyeok Hweon. 2022. “Cooking Niter, Prototyping Nature: Saltpeter and Artisanal Experiment in Korea, 1592—1635.” Isis, January 1.
    And we will workshop Susan Eberhard's dissertation chapter on silverware industry in Canton from the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Please email Susan Eberhard ( for the manuscript.

  • April 8, 2022

    For this meeting, we are going to read:
    Li, Yuhang. Becoming Guanyin: Artistic Devotion of Buddhist Women in Late Imperial China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020. Chapter 3.
    And we will workshop Yijun Wang's work-in-progress, "From Exotic Seafood to Superfood: Consumption and Knowledge Production of Edible Bird's Nest in the Context of Cross-Cultural Trade, 1600-1900." Please email Yijun Wang at to request the paper. Please request the paper by April 7 (Thursday), 12:00 pm.

  • March 11, 2022

    Russell, Andrew L., and Vinsel, Lee. “After Innovation, A Turn to Maintenance.” Technology and Culture 59, no. 1 (January 2018): 1–25.

    Reich, Aaron K. “In the Shadow of the Spirit Image: The Production, Consecration, and Enshrinement of a Daoist Statue in Northern Taiwan.” Journal of Chinese Religions 49: 2, 265-324 (November 2021).

  • February 11, 2022

    Christine Guth, Craft Culture in Early Modern Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021), chapters 4-5.

Group Conveners

  • kyoungjinbae's picture

    Kyoungjin Bae

    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.


  • rsilber's picture

    Rachel Silberstein

    Dr Rachel Silberstein is an independent scholar affiliated with the University of Washington specializing in Chinese dress and textile history. She earned a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford in 2015. Her monograph, A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing (University of Washington Press, 2020) – a study of fashion and textile handicrafts in early modern China – won the Costume Society of America’s Millia Davenport Publication Award 2021 and an honorable mention from the 2023 Bei Shan Tang Monograph Prize. Rachel has published widely on Qing fashion in the journals West 86th, Fashion Theory, Costume, and Late Imperial China. Other publications include “Fashion in Ming and Qing China,” in The Cambridge Global History of Fashion (University of Cambridge Press, 2023), and “Threads of Commerce and Consumption: the Qing Trade in Cotton, Silk, and Wool Textiles,” in The Oxford Handbook of the China Trade (Oxford University Press, 2025, forthcoming). Previously Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Puget Sound and Rhode Island School of Design, her research has been supported by the Pasold Research Fund, the Luce Foundation/ACLS, and the Institute of Advanced Studies.


  • Yijun.Wang's picture

    Yijun Wang

    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's picture

    Yulian Wu

    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.


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