Fa-ti Fan's British Naturalists in Qing China: Science, Empire, and PDF

By Fa-ti Fan

within the eighteenth and 19th centuries, Western medical curiosity in China targeted totally on average heritage. trendy students in Europe in addition to Westerners in China, together with missionaries, retailers, consular officials, and vacationing plant hunters, eagerly investigated the wildlife of China. but regardless of the significance and quantity of this clinical task, it's been solely missed by way of historians of technology.

This booklet is the 1st complete examine in this subject. In a sequence of brilliant chapters, Fa-ti Fan examines the examine of British naturalists in China with regards to the background of traditional background, of empire, and of Sino-Western family. the writer provides a breathtaking view of ways the British naturalists and the chinese language explored, studied, and represented China's wildlife within the social and cultural surroundings of Qing China.

utilizing the instance of British naturalists in China, the writer argues for reinterpreting the heritage of normal historical past, by way of together with overlooked old actors, highbrow traditions, and cultural practices. His technique strikes past viewing the heritage of technology and empire inside of ecu historical past and considers the alternate of principles, aesthetic tastes, fabric tradition, and vegetation and animals in neighborhood and worldwide contexts. This compelling ebook presents an cutting edge framework for knowing the formation of medical perform and data in cultural encounters.

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Extra resources for British Naturalists in Qing China: Science, Empire, and Cultural Encounter

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The large numbers of Jack-tars and laborers, on the other hand, had no place in the Factory. The research activities and achievements of botanical collectors in Canton can be best understood in this social context. As gardeners, collectors were not fully admitted into the club of the gentlemen and, unless they had the Natural History in a Chinese Entrepôt 25 help of a local patron, they were left in social limbo, frustrated and isolated. Despite the impressive title of Royal Gardener, William Kerr had “no one .

However imperfect and incomplete these data were, they trickled in and marked the beginning of a new phase of British research into China’s natural history. The British had contributed little to Western understanding of China’s natural history until the late eighteenth century; but as the nineteenth century progressed, they would rival and perhaps outdo the French in this area. In the era of Old Canton, their primacy in the China trade afforded them access to China’s plants and animals, and every aspect of the enterprise—the men, the ships, the networks, with all their opportunities and limitations—were inextricably linked to the China trade.

112 Modern scholars, on the other hand, tend to place these merchants within the context of the commercial culture of Ming and Qing China. Like others in maritime China, the Hong merchants were both flexible and traditional. 113 For example, Puankequa, the premier Hong merchant in the late eighteenth century, had traded in the Philippines three times before he joined the Hong business. 114 His famous banquets for Western merchants and sea captains came in a sequence of two. The first meal was served in the Western style, knives and forks for everyone, even the Chinese, who wielded them awkwardly.

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