We are pleased to announce that Anna Strob was granted a twelve-month extension of her PhD scholarship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The generous grant will allow her to continue her research on the knowledge transmission between Europe and China in the early seventeenth century and to finalize her dissertation project that focuses on the translation of Aristotle’s natural philosophy to late Ming China. The main body of her doctoral thesis consists of an annotated translation and analysis of the Kongji gezhi 空際格致 (Investigation into Phenomena in the Atmosphere, c. 1633), a Chinese adaption of the Coimbra commentaries on Aristotle’s natural philosophy written by the Jesuit author Alfonso Vagnone. Her doctoral thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag.
Patrick Aberle completed his master thesis with the title “A Complete Translation of the Celiang fayi 測量法義 (1608): A Study of its Reception and an Analysis of its Key Terms'' on 30 July in 2021. It is the first translation into English of the work in its entirety. Besides an assessment of the reception of the Celiang fayi in China, Aberle analyses how the authors carried out the transmission of technical terms and methods. He points out that the major challenge in the knowledge-transfer project of Xu Guangqi 徐光啟 (1562-1633) and Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) lay in the paradigmatic differential between two distinct knowledge traditions. Thus, he raises the question of what exactly the paradigms were that Xu and the community of mathematical scholars in China on one hand and Ricci and the Jesuit community on the other were subjected to. Since it is in expressive mismatches that a divergence of conceptual themes is revealed, he approaches this question with an inquiry into the terms that were newly introduced in the Celiang fayi. Furthermore, in his analytical framework, he distinguishes three different categories of concept transmissions – neologisms, neoonoma and neosemantisms – in order to gain an understanding of the transmission and translation strategies of Xu and Ricci. Thus, his master thesis does not only provide an insight into the different mathematical concepts of two important knowledge traditions, but also serves as a case study for philological and translational inquiry.
The DFG granted Prof. Hans Ulrich Vogel, History and Society of China, Department of Chinese Studies (Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, Faculty of Humanities), Tübingen University, a one-year extension of the above-mentioned project. The DFG support has started in summer 2018 and thus will continue until October 2022.
The immediate cause for starting this project was the sensational rediscovery in 2015 of the Kunyu gezhi 坤輿格致 (Investigations of the Earth’s Interior; 5 chap., 244 pp., 1640; hereafter KYGZ), a Chinese mining treatise based largely on Georgius Agricola’s (1494-1555) De re metallica (1556). This partial translation, initiated by the Chinese official Li Tianjing 李天經 (1579-1659) and carried out by the Jesuit missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell (Tang Ruowang 湯若望; 1592-1666), was lost for more than 350 years. Involving one of the most significant protagonists and polymaths of the German Renaissance and the most influential China-bound German Jesuit missionary, this text is of extraordinary importance not only for the history of East-West relations, but also for German cultural history.
In addition, and for comparative reasons, we are investigating another important and largely neglected text, the Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 6 chap., 208 pp., preface 1612; hereafter TXSF). The TXSF, mainly composed by the Italian Jesuit missionary Sabatino de Ursis (Xiong Sanba 熊三拔; 1575-1620), contains a systematic discourse on both theoretical and practical aspects of water and water management as well as forays into the medical field. Topically this technological manual differs from the KYGZ by embedding the presented new techniques in a traditional everyday setting, while at the same time it shares commonalities with the KYGZ in the domains of water drainage and natural philosophy.
The targets of this project are systematic, comprehensive as well as paradigmatic. It comprises studies of (甲) the Western books transferred to China, (乙) their selective translation by the Jesuits and their Chinese collaborators, (丙) the terminological and conceptual strategies and choices adopted during such efforts, (丁) the reception and perception of the texts on the Chinese side as well as (戊) the political, social, economic, cultural and ideological backgrounds and intentions of the different historical actors. The final aim of these case studies is (己) to deal with issues of intercivilisational encounters, especially (庚) in the field of useful and reliable knowledge, during (辛) the early period of globalisation, and (壬) to carry out comparisons based on the macro-sociological theory of the “Four Ways of Worldmaking” (power, wealth, meaning, knowledge), thus (癸) arriving at novel conclusions with regard to relevant convergences and divergences between China and Europe as well as the occurrence of the Great Divergence.
Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros 白雅詩, Assistant Professor at the Department of History, University of Macau was named 2021 J. Worth Estes Prize winner at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM), 14 May 2021. She was awarded for her work “Chocolate in China: Interweaving Cultural Histories of an Imperfectly Connected World,” published in Harold J. Cook (ed.), Translation at Work: Chinese Medicine at the First Global Age (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2020, pp. 58-107). Puente-Ballesteros, licentiate in medicine, magister in acupuncture and moxibustion, sinologist and PhD historian of science has immersed herself in the study of Eastern and Western languages and in the exploration of cross-cultural interactions and exchanges between Manchus, Mongolians, Chinese and Jesuits in the fields of medicine, surgery, anatomy and pharmacy during late imperial China. She is also Associated Researcher at Tübingen’s Department of Chinese Studies as well as Project and Translation Collaborator 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 the «Taixi shuifa» 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 1612).”
In Chinese …
We are pleased to announce that the PhD scholarship of the Gerda Henkel foundation for Anna Strob has been officially extended for another year until March 2022. The generous grant of the foundation will allow her to finalize the work on the translation of the first volume of Alfonso Vagnone’s Kongji gezhi 空際格致 (Investigation into Phenomena in the Atmosphere, c. 1633). With the analysis of the Chinese text, she aims to offer an insight into the Jesuit’s attempt to translate Aristotle’s natural philosophy to late Ming thought and to examine the linguistic and conceptual challenges of this early transmission of European scientific tradition. Her doctoral thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag.
We are happy to inform you that Prof. Hans Ulrich Vogel, Chair for Chinese History and Society, Department of Chinese Studies, Tübingen University, and Prof. Zhang Baichun 张柏春, Center for Comparative Studies, Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (IHNS), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, have been generously granted an amount of ca. 200.000 € by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (SGCRP, Chinesisch-Deutsches Zentrum für Wissenschaftsförderung, 中德科学中心), Beijing . This three-year grant is destined for the establishment of a Sino-German Mobility Programme (2020-2022) dealing with the “Transfer of Technical and Scientific Knowledge between Europe and China during the Early Modern Period” (近代早期中欧技术科学知识的转移).
Anna Strob has been granted a two-year PhD scholarship by the Gerda Henkel Foundation for the period from April 2020 to March 2022. The generous support of the foundation will allow her to focus full-time on her PhD project "Translating Renaissance Science: Alfonso Vagnone’s Kongji gezhi 空際格致 (Investigation into Celestial Phenomena, c. 1633)." According to the present state of research, the Kongji gezhi can be considered one of the first comprehensive attempts to translate Aristotle’s natural philosophy into Chinese. This effort, undertaken as part of the Jesuit mission, coincided with a growing interest in natural sciences and technology in late Ming China. In her doctoral thesis Anna Strob examines linguistic and conceptual challenges of this multi-facetted cultural encounter. Her thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Hans Ulrich Vogel and Prof. Dr. Achim Mittag and is part of the international 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 the Taixi shuifa 泰西水法 (Hydromethods of the Great West; 1612)" funded by the German Research Foundation and carried out at the University of Tübingen.
Li Yexin 刘烨昕, "A Symposium on the Transfer of Scientific and Technical Knowledge between Europe and China during the Early Modern Period Held at the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion", Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology 3 (1), 106-110 (2019). PDF
Hans Ulrich Vogel and Beatriz Puente-Ballesteros, "Translating Western Science, Technology and Medicine to Late Ming China: A New Project under the Auspices of SCEaR", Newsletter of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, Sub-Committee on Education and Research, December 2018: 10-12. PDF
Hans Ulrich Vogel, "Rediscovery of a Manuscript: The Chinese Translation of Georgius Agricola‘s De re metallica", Newsletter of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, Sub-Committee on Education and Research, November 2016, 16-20. PDF
Hans Ulrich Vogel, "Westliches Wissen in China: Ein neues Forschungsprojekt der Tübinger Sinologie befasst sich mit der chinesischen Übersetzung von Georgius Agricolas De re metallica von 1640", Damals, 48.5: 45-46 (Mai 2016). PDF