Putting Joseph Needham in the East Asian Context: Commentaries on Papers about the Reception of Needham’s Works in Korea and Taiwan

Volume 14, Issue 2

Joseph Needham was the champion of the history of science in China. His Science and Civilization in China series (hereafter, SC), first published in 1954, was soon recognized as the gold standard in the field. Many have already examined Needham's works and SC in various ways (see, e.g., Low 1998). Yet, we need to review its contemporary meaning and examine how his work received recognition in different contexts. One thing we need to consider is the cultural diversity within which Chinese science has been practiced. Geographically, the focuses of the history of sciences are shifting from China itself to the wider region of East Asia, and to more diverse cultural contexts regardless of location. Students of Needham's work are shifting their focus from China to the diverse populations where he worked and where his work has been received. We are paying more attention to those extensions where different knowledge has interacted in different cultures and institutional settings in East Asia.

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