HoST - Journal of History of Science and Technology
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Published By Walter De Gruyter Gmbh

1646-7752

2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 34-62
Author(s):  
Ren Congcong

Abstract Carpentry skills were among the most important elements of building practice in premodern China and Japan, and traditional carpentry skills continue in use in both countries to the present day. Although their importance has been greatly marginalised in building practice, in both countries some master carpenters have gained public recognition. This paper compares the modernisation of traditional building knowledge in China and Japan, and the fate of carpentry knowledge as the building industry and the formal discipline of architecture evolved. It distinguishes three phases in this historical trajectory: the period during the introduction of Western architecture as a discipline, when traditional knowledge was rejected or used selectively in the construction of national histories of building; the period when modern technology took over the main building industry and traditional craftsmen had to confront the realities of new technologies of production; and the period, still unfolding today, where heritage movements are promoting the recuperation and development of traditional craft knowledge. For each country, the paper traces how the nation’s history of building was selectively fashioned into an orthodox narrative; explores the content of key early technical works (for China, the official handbook Yingzao fashi [Building standards] and the craftsman’s manual Lu Ban jing [Carpenters’ Canon], and for Japan kikujutsu [literally, “compass and ruler techniques”] books); and shows how a talented master carpenter succeeded in creating a niche for himself within the contemporary heritage culture. It concludes that differences in the cultural respect accorded to carpentry knowledge in the two countries are rooted in the contrasting status of craftsmen in the premodern era.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 88-120
Author(s):  
Chang-Xue Shu

Abstract Engineering science in the China of 1901-40 had unique characteristics that disrupt the idea of a universal approach to its history.1 The following case study describes the ideas and trials of introducing bamboo into the seemingly globalised technology of reinforced concrete—an innovation developed across the borders of mechanical, naval, civil, and aeronautical engineering. The article showcases a way of knowing and working by twentieth century engineers that has not been fully acknowledged, and is not only a phenomenon of China. While bamboo was a complicated and somewhat marginal object for engineering, it did make the European concrete technology more viable in the construction sites of China, and stimulate engineers’ experimental and resourceful spirit in mobilising both craft and scientific knowledge. It also opened up a challenge to engineering science of the time.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 1-16
Author(s):  
Francesca Bray ◽  
Gregory Clancey ◽  
Annapurna Mamidipudi

2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 149-169
Author(s):  
Robert V. Davis

Abstract The European Enlightenment fostered a sense of progress through a delineation of universal human rights as well as through a reductionist mathematization of nature. Science, technology and religion became a form of cultural currency between Europe and Imperial China. The Jesuits bartered mathematics, geographic surveys and military technology to win religious permissions with Chinese emperors. Other Europeans were convinced ancient Chinese texts corresponded to the Old Testament. China sent to Europe a Confucian model of a social ethic that demonstrated non-Christian civic virtues. This article examines this exchange using the intercourse in science, technology and religion as the metric.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 121-148
Author(s):  
Eliane Cristina Deckmann Fleck

Abstract This paper analyzes the work Paraguay Natural Ilustrado and discusses the impact that the American experience and the later exile in Italy had in the trajectory and intellectual production of its author, Jesuit priest José Sánchez Labrador. The four volumes have evidence of the scientific advancements in Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century, due to his contact with other exiled Jesuits and the collection of the Library of Ravenna, along with his observations of American nature and the indigenous populations of the Jesuit Province of Paraguay. His experience for thirty-four years in the Americas, and later in exile, unmistakably are present in Paraguay Natural. It contributes significantly to the reconstitution of the circulation process and appropriation of botanical knowledge and of the intellectual environment in which the Jesuit brothers and priests were in, both in the missions among the natives in America, as well as in Europe in their exile.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 63-87
Author(s):  
Gregory Clancey

Abstract This article expands and complicates the literature on “craft” by examining the seeming anomaly of a craft community dominating a significant production sector within an advanced industrial economy, and despite the existence of cheaper high-tech and labor-saving alternatives. Japanese house-carpenters, organized into very small firms with very local markets, and producing “traditional” house-frames in small batches, have long held prefabrication and other alternatives at bay through a process of conservative innovation. The primary goal of their innovative process has been the protection and continuance of house-carpentry as a relevant and marketable skill, and of its practitioners as a self-sustaining community. This craft is not an exemplar of sustainability in other ways, however, despite its association with the traditional and organic. Its house-products have unnaturally short lives given Japanese methods of accounting for property value, and its raw material, foreign-sourced old-growth forests, are increasingly subject to global conservation efforts.


2021 ◽  
Vol 15 (2) ◽  
pp. 17-33
Author(s):  
Valérie Nègre

Abstract This article aims to shed light on the exchange of technical knowledge between architects, master craftsmen and workmen on building sites at the end of the eighteenth century. In the Age of Enlightenment, major building sites were places where a large number of skilled practitioners of various ranks met (engineers, architects, contractors, experts, craftsmen). These were therefore places where the exchange of knowledge and know-how occurred but also places of struggle for power and knowledge. The article examines these exchanges and struggles using the case study of the building site for the dome of the Halle au Blé in Paris (1782-1783).


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