- Department of History of Science and Technology in Pre-Modern China
The history of S&T in pre-modern China has always been the core research field for the IHNS. Shortly after the Institute was formally established in 1975, the Department of the History of S&T in Pre-Modern China was set up in 1978, presided over by Professor XI Zezong. Being the main department in the IHNS, it dealt with a great many research fields, such as traditional Chinese mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geography, biology, agriculture, medicine and technology. In 1984, the Department was split into 5separate Departments -History of Mathematics and Astronomy, History of Physics and Chemistry, History of Biology and Geography, History of Technology, and General History of S&T. In 1998, these Departments were readjusted into 4, one of them again called History of S&T in Pre-modern China. In 2002, all these Departments were disbanded and integrated into one Research Division. In 2010, the Research Division was again disbanded and several Departments were set up, including a Department of the History of S&T in Pre-Modern China. Throughout all these many departmental incarnations, scholars working on the history of S&T in pre-modern China have produced a great deal of research of the highest quality.
At present, there are 28 researchers in this Department, among whom there are 9 Professors, 9 Associate Professors, 9 Assistant Professors and 1Laboratory Assistant. The current head is Prof. LUO Guihuan, and Prof. HAN Jianping is his deputy. Under the rubric of the history of S&T in pre-modern China, the Department covers many aspects, such as astronomy, mathematics, biology, geography, medicine, agriculture and technology. In view of the Institute’s routes and models of discipline development and the needs of China’s contemporary society and culture, research priorities of the Department must be to:
-study traditional Chinese S&T from the perspectives of intellectual history, social history and cultural history, based on the tradition of rigorous verification;
- tackle academic issues and propose new research paradigm of the “Post-Needham Era”;
- inspire new viewpoints and new ideas;
- produce high-quality, innovative studies;
- reconstruct the history of S&T in pre-modern China, so as to provide new explanations to achieve a profound understanding of the development of S&T and culture.
Currently, a considerable number of the scholars in this Department are involved in research on “the Creation and Transmission of Scientific and Technological Knowledge", while others are engaged in studies on traditional arts and crafts and scientific archaeology. Some scholars also conduct independent research on the basis of their own interests.
Chief: HAN Yi