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Remembering China

July 18, 2014

 

 

After a year and a half in China, I’m finally back in Sweden. Looking back upon this time, I must say that it has been a fascinating experience to be part of a Chinese academic environment and to build cooperation with Chinese historians of science, technology and environment. Although originally I arrived in China merely for family reasons, my interaction with Chinese colleagues has been so inspiring that I now seem to have embarked on an academic path that, for the foreseeable future, will involve China as a major region of importance in my teaching and research. In particular, I’m increasingly widening my previous experience of studying the relations between Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia to include the Far East as well. In my last internal seminar presentation at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (IHNS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has served as my academic home during this academic year, I presented some of my thoughts so far on this more inclusive definition of “East-West relations.” In my presentation and in a draft journal article on the same subject that I aim to submit later this year, I develop the argument that the notions of “East” and “West” had better be analyzed as three rather than two geographical regions, and that, as far as the history of technology is concerned, there are three research traditions which would need to communicate with each other: (1) studies of East-West transnational “large technical systems”; (2) studies of East-West technology transfer; and (3) comparative studies of technological levels and technological styles in East and West.

 

 

CAS certificate

 

In connection with the seminar, IHNS Director Professor Zhang Baichun handed over a beautiful certificate as proof of my serving as “Young International Scientist” at the institute during the 2013-2014 academic year (the definition of “young” often being quite flexible in the academic world!). I’m grateful for having had this opportunity, and I will look back upon this time with many pleasant memories.

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