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ephemera: science and technology: Collections on Modern China at Columbia’s Starr Library

December 6, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - December 7, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

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Weatherhead East Asian Institute Event

Please join for a workshop with:

Jim Cheng, Columbia University
Lisa Claypool, University of Alberta
Laurence Coderre, New York University
Don J. Cohn, Independent Collector
Fa-ti Fan, SUNY Binghamton
Yi Gu, University of Toronto
Eugenia Lean, Columbia University
Ying Qian, Columbia University
Sigrid Schmalzer, UMass, Amherst
Chengzhi Wang, Columbia University
Danping Wang, Columbia University
Chuan Xu, Columbia University


This workshop brings together scholars working on history of science and technology, visual culture and art history, to examine a body of materials from the “Ephemera Collection on Chinese Science, Technology, Law, and Society”, housed at Columbia’s Starr library.  What kinds of questions can we ask of ephemera items, such as pamphlets, slides, posters and exhibition catalogues? How do these material objects rescued from “the dustbin of history” challenge conventional understandings of science and technology? How can they help us understand science and technology as practice and experience in Republican and Mao-era China? The workshop begins with an introduction to the collection, proceeds with focused reading sessions led by scholars, and ends with a round-table discussion.


This is a Weatherhead East Asian Institute 70th anniversary event and part of the Science and Society in Global Asia series.

No registration required.


Friday, December 6, 2019
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Saturday, December 7, 2019
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM



International Affairs Building, Room 918

420 West 118th Street



Friday, December 6, 2019
14:10 – 14:25 Opening Remarks
Jim Cheng and Eugenia Lean (Columbia University)

14:25 – 14:55 Introduction of the Collection
Chengzhi Wang (Columbia University)

14:55 – 15:45 Reading Session One 
Lisa Claypool (University of Alberta)

16:45 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 – 16:50 Reading Session Two
Fa-ti Fan (SUNY, Binghamton)

16:55 – 17:45 Reading Session Three
Danping Wang (Columbia University)

Saturday, December 7, 2019
9:30 – 10:20 Reading Session Four
Sigrid Schmalzer (UMass, Amherst)

10:20 – 10:35 Coffee Break

10:35 – 11:25 Reading Session Five
Yi Gu (University of Toronto)

11: 30 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:50 Reading Session Six
Ying Qian (Columbia University)

13:50 – 14:10 Coffee Break

14:10 – 15:00 Reading Session Seven
Chuan Xu (Columbia University)

15:00 – 15: 15 Coffee Break

15: 15 – 17:00 Round Table
Laurence Coderre (New York University)
Fa-ti Fan (SUNY, Binghamton)
Eugenia Lean (Columbia University)
Sigrid Schmalzer (UMass, Amherst) 


Cosponsored by: C.V. Starr Library and Center for Science and Society

For press inquiries, please contact Ariana King ak4364@columbia.edu.


December 6, 2019 @ 2:00 pm
December 7, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
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