Chinese Studies

Dr. CAO Jin 曹晉

Research Project Collaborator at the Department of Chinese Studies, Tübingen University

Academic Career

  • Since 2018 Research Project Collaborator, Tübingen University
  • 2016 Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) at Peking University
  • 2014-2017 Academic Director at the European Centre for Chinese Studies (ECCS), Beijing
  • 2012 PhD Chinese Studies at Tübingen University
  • 2007 M.A. Ancient Chinese History at Peking University
  • 2004 B.A. History and Economy at Peking University

Research Focus
Cao Jin's primary research interests are history of economy, science, and technology in China. Having worked on the management of reed-land aggradation and the copper-salt exchange between Yunnan and Guangdong in Qing China during her B.A. and M.A. phases, she did her doctoral dissertation on the topic of "Mining and Minting in Sichuan Province, Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries." This study took place in the framework of the DFG Research Group “Monies, Markets, and Finance in China and East Asia, 1600-1900.” After completing her PhD studies, Cao Jin investigated metrology and metrosophy in Song China, before she began to become involved with the 2015 surprisingly rediscovered manuscript of the book Kunyu gezhi, a Chinese translation of mainly Georg Agricola's De re metallica from the 17th century. Since 2018 her work is part of the DFG research project "Translating Western Science, Technology and Medicine to Late Ming China: Convergences and Divergences in the Light of the Kunyu gezhi 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior, 1640) and Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West, 1612)."

Wall paiting “Selling Fish” with a steelyard, Yuan period (1324). From Guangsheng Temple 广胜寺 in Hongdong 洪洞, Shanxi. An elderly fisherman is selling fish to an official, whose one hand is holding a steelyard with three fresh fish hung on the hook, and the other hand is moving its sliding weight.

Major Publications
Besides her dissertation "Mining and Minting in Sichuan Province, Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries: Effects on the Regional Economy and Society," Cao Jin, together with Hans Ulrich Vogel and Sabine Kink, compiled a German textbook on Qing documentary style. It is based on a spectacular criminal case and will soon be published as titled Die Falschmünzerbande vom Alten Rabenhorst in Guizhou (1794) in Texten und Kontexten: Ein Lehrbuch zur chinesischen Dokumentensprache der Qing-Zeit (1644-1911) (The Counterfeiter Gang of the Old Crow’s Nest in Guizhou (1794) in Texts and Contexts: An Introduction to Documents of the Qing Period). Together with Ulrich Theobald, she edited the collected volume Southwest China in Regional and Global Perspectives (c. 1600-1911): Metals, Transport, Trade and Society (Leiden: Brill, 2018). Further publications in English and Chinese mainly deal with the history of coin production in China as well as with different questions related to historical metrology and metrosophy.

Report about mining in Mianning district, Sichuan. Mianning xianzhi 冕寧縣志 (Gazetteer of Mianning District) of 1857, woodblock print, chap. 5, “Jianzhi zhi” 建置志 (Records of facilities), “Changwu” 廠務 (Mining affairs), p. 13.