At the end of the 19th century, Chinese elites became aware that the „new knowledge“ from the West was more than just a collection of useful technology. Very quickly the concept of science (kexue) was established as a conjunction of several overlapping meanings: the true worldview, embodied in Darwinism and mechanical cosmology; an espitemic ideal and defining feature of modern civilization, which was to be applied to all serious intellectual pursuits (xueshu) as well as to the organization of social life; and a social system and research practice, imported by the first generations of Chinese scientists from Japan, USA and Europe. The negotiation between these layers of „the scientific“ was reflected everywhere from intellectual debates to politics. This important part of the history of early twentieth century China however still remains poorly understood.
As part of the ongoing project Deconstruction and Construction of National Traditions and Science in China, this workshop brings together scholars engaging with the transformation of knowledge and establishment of science in modern China. They provide different perspectives on the interaction between levels of meaning of „knowledge“ and „science“ situated in the social and intellectual context. Themes covered include science in twentieth century Chinese thought, interactions of scientists with the wider society, history of science and history as science, public perception of science and modern technology etc. The aim is to present and discuss papers whith both fresh historical data and a thoughtful analysis of their relevance to the big questions of Chinese social and intellectual transformation in the twentieth century.
To attend or for additional information, please write to Jiří Hudeček.
Venue: Czech Union of Science and Technology Societies, Novotného lávka 5, Praha 1, room 418 (near Charles Bridge)
for programme see the page of the conference