Papers on the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge

Friday
11:00 am – 12:45 pm
Room 6

  • Paolo De Troia, Gabriele Tola, “Between Xinxiu yingjing, Shinshū yōkyō, and Shinshū takakyō—Some Remarks on the Origin of a Manuscript on Falconry”
  • Baoli Yang, “Meeting in Dunhuang: The Japanese Gaze at the Chinese Cultural Legacy and Modernisation of Sinology in Japan in the Early 20th Century”
  • Yating Yu, “Poirot and Beijing hua: Some Remarks on the Chinese Version of Guxin shengjing 古新聖経”
  • Yufei Zhou, “Transoceanic Contacts in the Making of Sinological Knowledge: The Case of Karl August Wittfogel’s Sojourn in Asia (1935–1937)”

Paolo De Troia, Gabriele Tola, “Between Xinxiu yingjing, Shinshū yōkyō, and Shinshū takakyō—Some Remarks on the Origin of a Manuscript on Falconry”

The authors present a manuscript on falconry: Xinxiu yingjing 新修鷹經 or, in Japanese, Shinshū yōkyō (also read as Shinshū takakyō). Various copies of the text, composed in different epochs, are stored in Japan. The manuscript is generally considered as composed in 818 and attributed to Saga emperor (Saga tennō 嵯峨天皇, 786–842; regnal years: 809–823).
The manuscript was written in Chinese; Xinxiu yingjing is a text of practical falconry and veterinary medicine and its contents range from the description of falconry and the species of falcons to the way of healing their diseases.
According to Edward Schafer (1959), even though Xinxiu yingjing is usually considered as composed in Japan during the ninth century, it might be a reworked edition of the Yingjing 鷹經, or the Classics of falconry. The latter is the oldest Chinese falconry text; it dates back to the Han dynasty and is today lost (Sanguo zhi, Wei, juan 9).
The authors will introduce the manuscript of Xinxiu yingjing, its editions and some later related works derived from it; the authors will also present some hypotheses on its alleged correlation with the Yingjing through an examination of its contents and of other relevant Japanese and Chinese sources.

Yating Yu, “Poirot and Beijing hua: Some Remarks on the Chinese Version of Guxin shengjing 古新聖経”

The paper focuses on Guxin shengjing 古新聖經 [The Old and New Testament], a text composed by the Jesuit painter and missionary Louis Antoine de Poirot (He Qingtai 賀清泰, 1735–1813). After a brief presentation of the text and of its role, the speaker presents the sources of terms Poirot used in Guxin shengjing. Through a linguistic analysis of nouns, adverbs, classifiers, and adjectives of Guxin shengjing, the speaker argues that Poirot mostly adopted the Beijing dialect (Beijing hua 北京話) of the 18th-century. Nevertheless, exactly because he served at the court during the reign of different emperors of the Qing Dynasty, he adopted also peculiar and rare expressions used only at the court and not present in Beijing dialect. The purpose of the speech is to demonstrate that, from a general point of view, Guxin Shengjing can be considered a text is written in Beijing dialect, using the lower of the three traditional styles (gaoti 高體, zhongti 中體, and diti 底體).

Baoli Yang, “Meeting in Dunhuang: The Japanese Gaze at the Chinese Cultural Legacy and Modernisation of Sinology in Japan in the Early 20th Century”

Thirty years after Ferdinand von Richthofen coined the term “Silk Road” in 1877, several foreign exploration teams, including the Japanese team lead by Kozui Otani (1876–1948), marched to northwest China and acquired pre-modern Eurasian cultural artefacts, including various valuable manuscripts, mural paintings, and excavated materials in Dunhuang, without being authorised to do so by the Chinese government. As a result, besides introducing the Dunhuang materials to the Japanese audience, these pursuits accumulated a sufficient amount of academic capital for the explorers and preconditioned the study of medieval China in Japan. On the other hand, the cultural heritage falling into foreigners’ hands devastated many Chinese scholars in Beijing and motivated them to petition for governmental protection of the rest of the cultural legacy, while scholars like Chen Yingque displayed indifference to the obsession with Chinese holding onto the artefacts. The dissemination of the Dunhuang cultural materials in Japan reflected how modern scholars viewed scholarship and defined Sinology in the modern East Asian context. However, in various later narratives recounting the discovery and dissemination of Dunhuang artefacts, a strong Chinese nationalist rhetoric obscured those plural agencies and multilayered effects which shaped the complicated process of globalising the knowledge of ancient China. My paper examines the competing discursive practices in the literature related to the Japanese acquisition and dissemination of Dunhuang cultural heritage through the lens of various biographies and memoirs. I argue that the Dunhuang manuscripts disseminated in Japan both reinforced the Japanese colonialist agenda and enhanced the globalist understanding among academicians.

Yufei Zhou, “Transoceanic Contacts in the Making of Sinological Knowledge: The Case of Karl August Wittfogel’s Sojourn in Asia (1935–1937)”

In May 1935, Karl August Wittfogel, the young Marxist China expert in exile, set out on his journey to East Asia. Together with his second wife Olga Lang, Wittfogel firstly toured Tokyo and Osaka, exploring the success story of this Asian nation’s transformation into a modern capitalist economy. On June 23, the couple arrived in the College of Chinese Studies in Beijing and launched their 2-year fieldwork in China. With the generous support from Peking Union Medical College, Beijing University, Institute of Pacific Relations and a number of other institutions, Wittfogel established his personal network with a variety of persons ranging from professional historians, China connoisseurs to intelligent agents and Communist activists. Backed up by his wide circle of acquaintances, Wittfogel started up after his return to the U.S. the “Chinese History Project”. This ambitious project existed in Columbia University and had given shelter to a large number of refugee Chinese historians during and after WWII.
This paper seeks to reconstruct Wittfogel’s experiences during his 27-months-sojourn in East Asia, focusing on his personal contacts with Asian and Western scholars during this period. The historical materials used in this paper include Wittfogel’s remarkably intensive exchange of letters with his mother Johanne Wittfogel during this period and his retrospective oral narratives recorded in 1966. The material also covers correspondence, published reviews, critics, and reminiscences from the related persons.

Event Timeslots (1)

Room 6
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