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Western Technology and China’s Industrial Development

Steamship Building in Nineteenth-Century China, 1828-1895

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

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  • Explores the scientific and technical issues of importing steamship technology into nineteenth-century China

  • Examines how translation might have achieved in bringing new understanding of heat to late Qing Chinese literati

  • Shows how China’s first engineering school was established to train shipbuilding workers and engineers

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Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvi
  2. Introduction

    • Hsien-ch’un Wang
    Pages 1-22
  3. Discovering Steam Power in China, 1828–1865

    • Hsien-ch’un Wang
    Pages 23-55
  4. To Buy Or to Build?

    • Hsien-ch’un Wang
    Pages 175-207
  5. Conclusion

    • Hsien-ch’un Wang
    Pages 209-217
  6. Back Matter

    Pages 219-229

About this book

This book explores how steam engine technology was transferred into nineteenth-century China in the second half of the nineteenth century by focusing on the transmission of knowledge and skills. It takes on the long-term problem in historiography that puts too much emphasis on politics but ignores the techno-scientific and institutional requirements for launching such an endeavor. It examines how translations broke linguistic and conceptual barriers and brought new a understanding of heat to the Chinese readership. It also explores how the Fuzhou Navy Yard’s shipbuilding and training program trained China’s first generation of shipbuilding workers and engineers. It argues that conservatism against technology was not to blame for China’s slow development in steamship building. Rather, it was government officials’ failure to realize the scale of institutional and techno-scientific changes required in importing and disperse new knowledge and skills.

Hsien-ch’un Wang is the associate professor at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He works on the history of Western science and technology in modern China. He is also interested in how modern technology has played a role in shaping Taiwanese society in the twentieth century.

Keywords

  • Industrial revolution
  • technology
  • China and the West
  • Steam technology
  • century of humiliation

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan

    Hsien-ch'un Wang

About the author

Hsien-ch’un Wang is the associate professor at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He works on the history of Western science and technology in modern China. He is also interested in how modern technology has played a role in shaping Taiwanese society in the twentieth century.

Bibliographic Information