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Non-Producing Skills in Early Modern East Asia: Skill-Material-Knowledge Entanglements Beyond Innovative Production

June 2, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Join the Department of History and the Asian Studies Center for Non-Producing Skills in Early Modern East Asia: Skill-Material-Knowledge Entanglements beyond Innovative Production

Questions to be explored: How did everyday skills and material lifecycles coevolve and what are the characteristics of the knowledge that stemmed therefrom? How should we approach ascribing modern – and Western – techno-material categories and values onto early modern East Asia? What are some methodological foundations for an interdisciplinary study of material culture, ecology, and the history of science, technology, and medicine? And finally, how can early modern East Asian experiences contribute to narratives of the history of science and technology in general?

Day 2 Schedule of Events

Panel 3 | Epistemic Mobility 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

He Bian, Princeton University Home-Making Skills and the Re-Invention of the Family Man after the Ming-Qing Transition

Ruselle Meade, Cardiff University Mobilizing the Artisanal Lexicon to Create a New Language for Marine Engineers in Nineteenth-Century Japan

Yijun Wang, New York University Between Objects and Material: Life Cycles of Pewter and Knowledge Formation in Material Transformation in Qing China Discussant: Morgan Pitelka, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Panel 4 | Systemic Maintenance 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Kyoungjin Bae, Kenyon College Maintaining Good Hands: Cantonese Woodworkers at the Qing Court

BuYun Chen, Swarthmore College Judging from Sight: The Labors of Forest Management in the Ryukyu Kingdom
William Charles Wooldridge, City University of New York Maintenance as Religious Practice in Taiwan

Discussant: Anne Gerritsen, University of Warwick, Leiden University


Roundtable 2 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.


Sponsored by Asian Studies Center and the Department of History


June 2, 2023
10:00 am - 6:00 pm