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Science and Empire: Commerce and Exploration

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University of Guelph
HIST 1250
Tara Abraham

Science and Empire: Commerce and Exploration 1. Cultural Status of Science in Japan (a) Transmission of Science and Technology How did European scientific ideas spread to other cultures? age of commerce and exploration not a passive process of diffusion spread and transmission: a “push” and “pull” phenomenon adoption of Western knowledge for own purposes japan had a keen interesting in western science (b) Japan and the West culture of isolation little contact with westerners, in opposition to chinese and turks ultimately, much interest in Western science paradoxically because of the little contact all contact with the west was isolated to a made island in nagasaki Tokugawa shogunate: 17th to 19th C shogun: military leader or dictator: they ruled Japan from 12th to 19th C tried to protect themselves from christianity Tokugawa shogunate: initially rejected Western science and culture made room for science in a very specific way they isolated themselves, so if any japanese had any interest they needed to engage in it themselves 2. What was the Character of Science in Japan? (a) Basis: Chinese Science (up to 16th C) japanese based on chinese different political structure - status of science was different less confection between science and the state (b) Exposure to Western Science (17th‐18th C) mainly via the Protestant Dutch contact was rigidly controlled Key: astronomy and medicine some doctors began being trained in dutch medicine rangaku (Dutch studies) japanese interpretation was focused on practical applications surgery, or astronomy for needs for navigation attracted to western learning in part for the exchange of one foreign practice for another reaction to the domination of chinese science (c) Rejection of Western Science (19th C) knowledge of western science would begin interest in culture and politics this fear trumpeted interest in western scienc
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