Publications |

Parutions 2012

The Emperor’s new mathematics

The Emperor’s new mathematics

Western learning and imperial authority in China during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722)

Catherine Jami
Oxford,  Oxford University Press, 2012,  XV-436 p.

In 1644 the Qing dynasty seized power in China. Its Manchu elite were at first seen by most of their subjects as foreigners from beyond the Great Wall, and the consolidation of Qing rule presented significant cultural and political problems, as well as military challenges. It was the Kangxi emperor (r. 1662-1722) who set the dynasty on a firm footing, and one of his main stratagems to achieve this was the appropriation for imperial purposes of the scientific knowledge brought to China by the Jesuit mission (1582-1773).
For almost two centuries, the Jesuits put the sciences in the service of evangelization, teaching and practising what came to be known as 'Western learning' among Chinese scholars, many of whom took an active interest in it. After coming to the throne as a teenager, Kangxi began his life-long intervention in mathematical and scientific matters when he forced a return to the use of Western methods in official astronomy. In middle life, he studied astronomy, musical theory and mathematics, with Jesuits as his teachers. In his last years he sponsored a great compilation covering these three disciplines, and set several of his sons to work on this project. All of this activity formed a vital part of his plan to establish Manchu authority over the Chinese. This book explains why Kangxi made the sciences a tool for laying the foundations of empire, and to show how, as part of this process, mathematics was reconstructed as a branch of imperial learning.

Pour citer ce document

, «The Emperor’s new mathematics», cecmc [En ligne], Publications, Parutions 2012, mis à jour le : 23/06/2017
, URL :

flux rss  Actualités

Enquêter en Chine et en Russie :  A la recherche d’appuis communs pour la réflexion

Journée(s) d'étude - Mardi 13 mars 2018 - 09:00Une journée d’études consacrée aux «  Formes de présence du passé » en Chine et en Russie est organisée à l’EHESS, le mardi 13 mars 2018.OrganisationFrançoise Daucé (EHESS) et Isabelle Thireau (EHESS)ProgrammeEnquêter en Chine et en Russie : A la re (...)(...)

Lire la suite

Small Words, Weighty Matters: Gossip, Knowledge and Libel in Early Republican China, 1916-1928

Conférence - Lundi 05 février 2018 - 17:00Dans le cadre de l’axe de recherche Des sociétés face aux États et du projet ANR  ChinaSpheres : les sphères publiques alternatives en Chine au 20e siècle, Jing Zhang, post-doctorante au Centre Chine Corée Japon présentera une conférence intitulée : "Sma (...)(...)

Lire la suite

Textes et images à l’époque des Ming : le travail de la soie dans certains ouvrages techniques

Conférence - Jeudi 15 février 2018 - 14:00Dans le cadre du séminaire Histoire culturelle de la Chine (XVe siècle-XIXe siècle) : livres illustrés et images imprimées de Michela Bussotti (EFEO-CCJ), intervention de Mau Chuan-Hui (Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan) intitul (...)(...)

Lire la suite

Plus d'actualités

54 boulevard Raspail
750006 Paris, France
Tél. : +33 (0)1 49 54 20 90
Fax : +33 (0)1 49 54 23 99