I am interested in the history of science, technology, and medicine in late imperial China, in particular, the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). I use the methodological insights of historians of the book in early modern China and Europe to inform the study of technical information--its production and organization.
My dissertation project offers Mao Yuanyi's (1594–1640) Treatise on Military Preparedness (Wu bei zhi, 1621), a military encyclopedia, as a case study of Ming practices of technical knowledge production. I argue that an early modern Chinese technical text is a product of specific social practices of its author within an expert community and the reading practices of its author and readers. These practices collectively produce technical meaning and challenge the hegemony of European knowledge practices in conversations on the history of technology in the early modern world.