Category Archives: 2021/22: Agriculture and the Making of Sciences

Chinese-European Lecture Series 2021/2022

Agriculture and the Making of Sciences (1100–1700)

This year’s lecture series is a collaboration between the European Research Centre for Chinese Studies, the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

Hitherto historians of science tend to examine pre-modern agriculture in extra-European traditions from the perspective of modern agronomy retrospectively, often within a single ethno-linguistic context. In this set of seminars, speakers aim at reversing this approach by exploring how agricultural practices informed the emergent discrete scholarly categories and epistemic genres in disparate cultural and literary traditions. Presenters focus on particular traditions of knowledge in their own terms, both in their cultural context and as emerging languages of authority, while being mindful of the cross-cultural and longue durée interplay between different fields and traditions of knowledge. They examine how everyday agricultural practices and material actions shaped these categories in particular, and knowledge cultures in general, to address some key questions.

  1. How were diverse forms of knowledge that did not conveniently fit into the discrete scholarly categories and epistemic agendas of their respective times negotiated, (re-)articulated and denounced?
  2. What are the practices and strategies of claiming authority?
  3. What are the resources, networks, and institutions behind the emergence of new categories?




  1. 在其各自时代无法轻易归入各种知识门类的知识形式是如何被协商、重新阐释或舍弃的?
  2. 知识的权威性是如何构建的?
  3. 新的学问门类的出现,其背后是怎样的制度、资源和关系网络?