The Study of Change: Chemistry in China, 1840-1949

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When Western missionaries introduced modern chemistry to China in the 1860s, they called this discipline hua-hsueh, literally, 'the study of change'. In this first full-length work on science in modern China, James Reardon-Anderson describes the introduction and development of chemistry in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and examines the impact of the science on language reform, education, industry, research, culture, society, and politics. Throughout the book, Professor Reardon-Anderson sets the advance of chemistry in the broader context of the development of science in China and the social and political changes of this era. His thesis is that science fared well at times when a balance was struck between political authority and free social development. Based on Chinese and English sources, the narrative moves from detailed descriptions of particular chemical processes and innovations to more general discussions of intellectual and social history, and provides a fascinating account of an important episode in the intellectual history of modern China.