ASIAN 365 - Science in Premodern China
Section: 001
Term: FA 2008
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course is intended as an introduction to the basic problems and issues in Chinese science before the 14th century, with a special focus on the development of acupuncture. In addition to examining the content of what many scholars construe as Chinese science and natural philosophy, this course will examine two themes at length. The first is how one should define science.

  • Is science, as older scholars assumed, a timeless, cross-cultural phenomenon that emerged exclusively in 17th- and 18th-century Europe?
  • Or is science socially and culturally contingent?
  • Is there, in other words, more than one effective way to represent and predict natural phenomenon?

The second theme revolves the impact of culture and politics on the content of science, particularly medicine.

  • To what extent did early Chinese political institutions, philosophical traditions, and social arrangements help or hinder the development of science?

Readings will focus equally on primary and secondary sources in English. In addition to active participation, attendance, and two power-point presentations, students will give oral presentations and write two 6 to 8-page papers critically treating the secondary literature by examining the primary sources from which scholars have drawn conclusions about some aspect of Chinese science and natural philosophy.

No knowledge of Chinese language or China is required, and the course is open to all.

ASIAN 365 - Science in Premodern China
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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