( Completed: 30.9.2011)
Concepts and Modalities: Practical Knowledge Transmission
The group focuses on how technical knowledge was perceived, transmitted and evaluated to form distinct, yet changing, “cultures of knowledge”. It concentrates on Premodern China in the period from the Song to the mid-Qing Dynasty (10th - 18th C). Integral to this is a holistic approach that recognizes the complex factors, institutional, cultural, social, economic and technical, involved in the perception of technical knowledge and its transmission.
The first phase of the project, 2006-2009, concentrated on how historiography shapes our view to technology. Manifold reflections on invention and innovation and their manifestations were examined to see how novelty was historicized in the culture of Premodern China. (Descriptions of the completed projects by Martina Siebert, Feng Jiren, Martin Hofmann and Dagmar Schäfer can be accessed through the link completed). The process of this research lead to reflection on what innovation and invention actually mean and a re-examination of the concepts and modalities with which they were expressed, and which effect this had on their (non-) implementation.
The projects for the period 2009-2011, focus on two main directions. A rigorous examination of the methodological basis on which the history of technology has been based aims at finding new cross-disciplinary approaches to Technology and Innovation Cultures. Individual projects pursue the development of an expertise culture, discursive practices circling around practical and theoretical knowledge, the role of normative frameworks, and standards and standardization in material production.
The group’s collective experience in researching Premodern China has been mined to provide the basis for the development of a variety of universally usable digital tools, such as a GIS-Platform China Historical GIS and a Text-Database on Chinese ancient technological texts Written Transmission. These are intended to be implemented by scholars studying any temporal period or geographic locality.
Cooperation Partners of the Group are:
Partner Group of the IHNS, CAS and MPIWG, MPG,
The Palace Museum, Beijing, China,
Harvard Yenching Institute Harvard Yenching Institute,