Yet waley-cohen’s primary focus is not on these earlier periods but, as the title alludes, on china’s curiosity, exposure, and transference of western technical knowledge in science, technology, and astronomy. Joanna waley-cohen is professor of history at new york university. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Sponsored products are advertisements for products sold by merchants on amazon. [s]timulating and refreshing, and the history itself is sensibly organized and engagingly told.
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Sextants of beijing. The macartney mission is habitually portrayed as an example of china’s obstinate refusal to acknowledge the inherent superiority of the west. The book juxtaposes quite powerfully china’s willing adoption of western cartographic techniques, architecture, and artillery with the chinese court’s perceived indifference toward lord george macartney’s diplomatic overtures in the late eighteenth century. In the popular imagination of the west, china remains an enigmatic entity resolutely resistant to external ideas and innovations. Project muse promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. You are not currently authenticated. Waley-cohen repositions the episode to demonstrate that macartney’s gifts and propositions varied very little from those of the jesuits who had served the chinese court several decades earlier.
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While the past decades have witnessed a flurry of attacks on eurocentric and orientalist perspectives, studies on china aimed at a more popular audience have remained surprisingly immune and persist in offering an outmoded depiction of china as an “immobile empire. Offers a powerful reevaluation of traditional characterizations of china as isolationist and xenophobic.