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Deep Dive into Digital and Data Methods for Chinese Studies | How Disasters Begin: The Little Ice Age of 14th-Century China and Data Collection in the Long Durée

Professor Dagmar Schäfer, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Professor Dagmar Schäfer, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Professor Dagmar Schäfer, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Free and Open to the Public

Light refreshment will be provided.

This lecture tackles the historical construction of weather as disaster. The genre of Local Gazetteers (difang zhi 地方誌) records a considerable number of disasters for the period of the Yuan-dynasty (1279-1368). The political nature of these data is well known and yet, scientists from the early 20th to the 21st era of anthropocene debates have used them, not only to advance their political agenda, but also their sciences. This lecture will lead you through the way in which contemporary actors of the Yuan, Ming historians, and Chinese scientists from Zhu Kezhen to modern climatologists and historians produce(d) and use(d) ideas about weather and disaster. The focus of this lecture will be on the changing relations such actors draw between local knowledge, history, and imperial cosmology, i.e. since the 20th century also “local knowledge,” historical analysis, and geology and climate science.

Dagmar Schäfer is the Director of Department III (Artefacts, Action, & Knowledge) at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG). A prominent scholar in the history and sociology of technology of China, she focuses on the paradigms configuring the discourse on technological development, past and present. She has published widely on the premodern history of China (Song-Ming) and technology, materiality, the processes and structures that lead to varying knowledge systems, and the changing role of artifacts—texts, objects, and spaces—in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. Her monograph "The Crafting of the 10,000 Things" (University of Chicago Press, 2011) won the Joseph Levenson Prize (Association for Asian Studies) in 2013 the Pfizer Award (History of Science Society) in 2012.

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When and Where

Map Hatcher Graduate Library - 240 Hatcher Graduate Library (Clark Library Instructional Space)

April 2019

12:00pm - 1:00pm

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