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Robert Oppenheim, Director WCH 4.134, Mailcode G9300, Austin, TX 78712 78712 • 512-471-5811

China Seminar: Benjamin Elman

Tue, September 1, 2009 • 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM • Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118


Why was 'Mr. Science' called 'kexue/kagaku' in Chinese after 1900?

Benjamin Elman, Princeton University, will discuss why the Chinese term for "science" up to 1895, namely "gezhi," was superseded by the Japanese neologism of "kagaku" for science after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 in which the armed forces of Meiji Japan trounced those of Qing China.

The talk will focus on why the Chinese term for "science" up to 1895, namely "gezhi," was superseded by the Japanese neologism of "kagaku" for science after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 in which the armed forces of Meiji Japan trounced those of Qing China.

Benjamin Elman is Professor of East Asian Studies and History with his primary department in East Asian Studies. His teaching and research fields include: 1) Chinese intellectual and cultural history, 1000-1900; 2) history of science in China, 1600-1930; 3) history of education in late imperial China; 4) Sino-Japanese cultural history, 1600-1850. He received his Ph.D. in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania (1980) and came to Princeton in 2002 from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1999 to 2001 he was the Mellon Visiting Professor in Traditional Chinese Civilization at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ). His publications include: From Philosophy To Philology (1984, 1990, 2001); Classicism, Politics, and Kinship (1990); A Cultural History of Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China (2000). He has recently completed two book projects: On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550-1900 (2005), and A Cultural History of Modern Science in Late Imperial China (2006). He is currently working on a project entitled "The Intellectual Impact of Late Imperial Chinese Classicism, Medicine, and Science in Tokugawa Japan, 1700-1850".


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