EAST-WEST SCHOLARS IN DIALOGUE: Ricci Institute Research Seminar I
The Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History at Boston College presents two research seminars in February 2023, which will be delivered by the two Luce postdoctoral fellows in residence during the spring semester. Based on different historical studies, the two presentations will offer an opportunity for academic exchange among scholars today who are interested in the study of the history of Christianity in China and in the larger historical context of modern global history. The seminars are free and open to faculty and students at Boston College, and all interested scholars from other institutions.
Seating is limited. Please RSVP by February 15, 2023 at: email@example.com with the subject as: RSVP to 2023 East-West Scholars in Dialogue series.
SEMINAR I: February 16 (Thursday), 11:00 am – 12:00 noon.
Title: From Meteorologica to Qixiangxue 氣象學: A Case Study of the Transmission of Western Learning to China in the Modern Era
Speaker: Dr. WANG Hao 王皓, Associate Professor, Shanghai University
Abstract: The Western Learning of meteorologica (meteorology) was first introduced to China by Jesuit missionaries during the Ming-Qing transitional period (16th – 17th centuries), and then presented again to China by both the Jesuit and Protestant missionaries in the 19th century as the result of a centuries-long Scientific Revolution in the West. Although it was translated into different terms such as kongji gezhi 空際格致, cehou 測候, tianqixue 天氣學 and fengyuxue 風雨學, etc., none was widely used by the Chinese until the late 19th century, when the expression Qixiangxue 氣象學 was introduced to China from Japan and became a popularly accepted term for meteorology. Through an examination of the above history, this presentation suggests that although Western meteorology was introduced to China by missionaries belonging to different Christian denominations, the basic terminology for this important discipline was never accepted by the Chinese, who paid much attention to the utility of meteorology rather than to its theory. The tension between science and faith is one of the obstacles for its development, even though modern meteorological observatories had been established by westerners in a number of cities across China. Moreover, the term qixiang 氣象 carries multiple layers of connotations in the Chinese language both linguistically and culturally. Thus, the etymology of the term “meteorology” and its evolution in modern Chinese history may provide yet another example of the Sinicization of Western Learning in China.
Thursday, February 16 at 11:00am to 12:00pm
Ricci Institute Conference Room 2125 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02135