History of Technology Volume 29: Technology in China

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Ian Inkster
A&C Black, Dec 23, 2009 - Technology & Engineering - 232 pages
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The common question from the western point of view is of the sort; why did China lose its early leadership of productive technologies to Europe during the early modern period? Answers to this seemingly clear enquiry vary from general cultural inwardness to the interferences of imperial governance. This collection surveys such theories but alters the issue by raising the notion that Chinese technologies did not so much fail as move along a path different from that of Europe.


Our second collection on the Mindful Hand, also shifts common ground by querying and modifying common views of the links between knowledge and technique in early-modern European development. Scientific or related knowledge was not brought to technique as a socio-cultural gift from an educated elite to the working man. Rather, educated gents, practitioners, instrument makers, craftsfolk and technicians of all kinds intermingled both socially and in terms of  the recognition of technical problems as well as  in the assemblage of the mental, commercial and  cognitive resources required to pursue innovative production projects.


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About the author (2009)

Ian Inkster is Research Professor of International History at Nottingham Trent University, UK.Graeme Gooday is Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the University of Leeds. He had broad interests in the history and historiography of technology, especially in late 19th century electrical engineering. Following his thesis work on the advent of precision measurement techniques for laboratories, his first monograph The Morals of Measurement (Cambridge, 2004) critiqued the use of metrological determinism in measurement history.

Dr James Sumner is Lecturer in History of Technology and Associate Director of the UK National Archive for the History of Computing, University of Manchester. He holds a PhD on quantification and measurement in the British brewing industry around 1800, and has broad interests in the role of standards, uniformity and technical communication in modern history.

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