This multi-year lecture series focuses on various modes of knowledge production in East Asia: textual and visual, academic and commercial, theoretical and practical. Its purpose is to break down, rather than uphold these various distinctions in order to advance our understanding of the complex ways individual knowers received, used, and redeployed knowledge in their everyday lives. The series will examine a number of intersecting spheres of knowledge production including medical, social scientific, and political knowledge.
The series began with a lecture on the history of the objects that were the most concrete carriers of knowledge: written texts. In November of 2013, Cynthia Brokaw, Professor of History at Brown University and world-renowned expert on the history of the Chinese book, launched the series with reflections on the genre of encyclopedias in late imperial Chinese history (ca. 1600-1900).
The second event in the series was a workshop in May 2014 on “Constructing a Multilingual Database in the Humanities: Keyword and Concept Structures for the Project ‘Early Chinese Periodicals Online (ECPO)’.” The workshop focused on the challenge of creating a hierarchical keyword structure for ECPO that would both reflect the state of knowledge in early twentieth century China, and be compatible with one of the most widely used online research thesauri, the Getty Research Institute’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus. The workshop included presentations by Jonathan Ward, Editor, Getty Vocabulary Program, Getty Research Institute; and Sophy Shu-jiun Chen, Executive Secretary, Academia Sinica Digital Culture/ Leader of the Chinese Art and Architecture Thesaurus translation project
Professor Peter Zarrow from the Department of History at the University of Connecticut gave a talk on Constructing Citizens: Textbooks, c. 1900-1937 on 13 November 2014. He examined the transmission of political knowledge from Japan to China via translated textbooks in the early twentieth century (November 2014).
The fourth lecture focus on How Chinese Gynecology become Korean? A Comparative Case Study of “Women’s Diseases” in Heo Jun’s Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine (Dongui bogam, 1613) . Yi-Li Wu’s 12 February 2015 talk examined how Heo Jun transformed Chinese teachings on female blood and childbirth to create a new model of the gendered female medical body. The Precious Mirror of Eastern Medicine is a foundational work of Korean medicine and a cultural treasure, listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Its chief author, the imperial physician Heo Jun (1539-1615), synthesized Chinese classical medicine with local knowledge to articulate a specifically Korean approach to healing. Dr. Wu is a Research Fellow at the EASTmedicine Research Cluster, University of Westminster.
The series is organized by Joan Judge (Department of History) as part of the activities of the Critical China Studies Reading Group at YCAR.
Lectures in 2016
Talk by Eugenia Lean, Columbia University
3 March 2016 at 3:30pm in Room 280N, Second Floor, York Lanes at York University
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