Event

Nov 21-22, 2019
Knowing an Empire: Imperial Science in Early Modern Chinese and Spanish Empires

Vast empires, whether in Asia or the Americas, faced similar challenges when it came to scale and diversity. To control sweeping expanses of varied geography, human and natural alike, early modern administrators aimed to collect and organize knowledge. While localities within imperial boundaries might revel in their specific customs, natural histories, resources, and geographies, central administrators envisioned a means to transcend those specificities. This workshop explores how, despite their geographic and cultural distance, both the Spanish and Chinese imperial administrations developed a system of geographic knowledge collection based on remote observation. The two imperial geographical genres evolved in parallel: the difangzhi (local gazetteers) of imperial China, and the relaciones geográficas (geographic relations) of the Spanish Empire. The relaciones questionnaires developed from a sixteenth-century census precedent and continued to shape reports on indigenous geography until the early eighteenth century. Rooted in earlier traditions of geography treatises and map guides, Chinese difangzhi matured and steadily spread by the turn of the sixteenth century, with the overwhelming majority of extant gazetteers dating from this period onward. Both of these sources are being fruitfully studied by historians and historians of science in their respective regional contexts, but their comparability has never been explored. This workshop brings the two perspectives into dialogue for the first time.

Program

Address
Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Room
Main Conference Room
Contact and Registration

Please register at event_dept3@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de.

2019-11-21T00:00:00SAVE IN I-CAL 2019-11-21 00:00:00 2019-11-22 00:00:00 Knowing an Empire: Imperial Science in Early Modern Chinese and Spanish Empires Vast empires, whether in Asia or the Americas, faced similar challenges when it came to scale and diversity. To control sweeping expanses of varied geography, human and natural alike, early modern administrators aimed to collect and organize knowledge. While localities within imperial boundaries might revel in their specific customs, natural histories, resources, and geographies, central administrators envisioned a means to transcend those specificities. This workshop explores how, despite their geographic and cultural distance, both the Spanish and Chinese imperial administrations developed a system of geographic knowledge collection based on remote observation. The two imperial geographical genres evolved in parallel: the difangzhi (local gazetteers) of imperial China, and the relaciones geográficas (geographic relations) of the Spanish Empire. The relaciones questionnaires developed from a sixteenth-century census precedent and continued to shape reports on indigenous geography until the early eighteenth century. Rooted in earlier traditions of geography treatises and map guides, Chinese difangzhi matured and steadily spread by the turn of the sixteenth century, with the overwhelming majority of extant gazetteers dating from this period onward. Both of these sources are being fruitfully studied by historians and historians of science in their respective regional contexts, but their comparability has never been explored. This workshop brings the two perspectives into dialogue for the first time. Program Thursday November 21, 2019 09:00–10:45              Introduction and Keynotes Mackenzie COOLEY and WU Huiyi Opening Remarks: Imperial Science and Epistemologies of Empire Dagmar SCHÄFER        The Local Condition of Global Sciences: Counting Raindrops with Qin Jiushao in 1247    Timothy BROOK          Knowledge Connection of the Early Modern World Maria PORTUONDO      Reporting Doubt to the King: The Relaciones Geográficas, Knowledge of Nature and Local Imperatives 10:45–11:00                          Break 11:00–12:30                 Imperial Geography: Defining the Genre Chair: Dejanirah Couto                                   Commentator: Maria Portuondo, Timothy Brook Alexis LYCAS                        “Patterned Guidelines” As Local Repositories for Knowing the Chinese Empire Joe DENNIS                  Defining the Local Gazetteer Genre in Ming China: Gazetteer Content and Compilation as Seen through Principles of Compilation fanli 凡例 DISCUSSION    What's in a Relación? Towards a Relaciones geográficas Timeline 12:30–13:30                          Lunch 13:30–14:30                 Digital Approaches to Early Modern Big Data Chair: Masato Hasegawa Commentator: Ali Yaycioglu & Nungyao Lin Jeremy MIKECZ           From the Macro to the Micro: Combining Text-Mining and a Close Reading of the Relaciones Geográficas (RGs) of Peru CHEN Shih-Pei             What One should Know about a Locality: Analyzing Knowledge Categories from the Chinese Local Gazetteers 14:30-15:00                          Break 15:00-17:00                 Natural and Environmental History Chair: Huiyi Wu Commentators: Maria Portuondo, Dagmar Schäfer Mackenzie COOLEY              Animals and the Making of Natural History in the Relaciones Geográficas BIAN He                       All the Fruits of Guangdong: Reconfiguring Local Products (wuchan) in Ming-Qing Provincial Gazetteers (Presentation in absentia) CHE Qun                       “Shifting Baseline” in the Terrain Transformation: Mapping Water Conservancy Constructions in the Middle Stream of Yangtze River (966-1885A.D.) DISCUSSION                New Approaches to Comparative Nature Histories Friday November 22, 2019 09:00–10:00                   Cartography and Geography Chair: Nungyao Lin Commentators: Dejanirah Couto, Dagmar Schäfer Barbara MUNDY            Mapping New Spain: Indigenous Cartography and Imperial Knowledge Mario CAMS                 Mapping Discourses in Ming China’s General Gazetteers 10:00–10:15                          Break 10:15–11:15                          Indigenous Knowledge 1: Language, Identity, Expertise Chair: David Pretel Commentators: Maria Portuondo, Dagmar Schäfer Kelly MCDONOUGH      Indigenous Knowledges and the Archive: Health, Illness, and Healing in the 1577 Relaciones geográficas Mårten SÖDERBLOM SAARELA              Local Linguistic Knowledge in Qing Gazetteers 11:15–11:30                          Break 11:30–12:30                          State Control and Ways of Living Chair: Shih-pei Chen Commentators: Ali Yaycioglu, Masato Hasegawa ZHANG Xianqing           Telling the Story of Religion: Local Gazetteer (difangzhi), Native Discourse and Traditional Chinese Religion World Stuart MCMANUS         Knowing Early Modern Slavery: Towards a Connected and Comparative History of Slavery in the Americas and China 12:30–13:30                 Lunch 13:30–14:30                 Connections and Transmission Chair: Mackenzie Cooley Commentator: Dejanirah Couto, Tim Brook YAN Niping                   Animal Knowledge: Explaining Chinese Animals to Spanish Readers of the Boxer Codex WU Huiyi Early Modern Globalisation in Chinese Local Gazetteers (16–18th Century) 14:30–15:00                          Break 15:00–16:00                          Beyond China and Spain Chair: Sonja Brentjes Ali YAYCIOGLU           Science of Empire: Registry, Secrecy, and Sanctity in Ottoman Imperial Knowing Dejanirah COUTO         Global Knowledge, Science and Miscegenation in the Portuguese Empire (16th-18th Centuries) 16:00–17:00  Roundtable Discussion   MPIWG Mackenzie Cooley (Cornell University)Huiyi Wu (Needham Research Institute) Shih-Pei Chen admin@example.com Europe/Berlin public