Congratulations to Grace Shen on the publication of her first book, Unearthing the Nation: Modern Geology and Nationalism in Republican China. Go check it out at the University of Chicago Press website. We asked Grace to tell us a bit about the book and how it relates to her teaching at Fordham and her new research…
She reports that the book was based on research conducted on English, Chinese, German and Japanese sources. This research was supported by a Fulbright IIE fellowship, SSRC, the Dibner Institute, the Needham Institute, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.
Though the book is ostensibly about the development of modern geology in China, it less about achievements and discoveries, than it is a cultural history of science in China written through the lens of the Chinese geological community. Elements of the book riff on ideas I also teach in my courses on China, Confucianism and Social Darwinism, particularly issues of identity, the intersection of material culture and body practices, and the difficult process of negotiation where older traditions fit within cultures of change. Like this work, my new research also focuses on knowledge-production, identity, and belief systems. In Fall 2014 I will be teaching a Manresa course called UHC: Representations of China & the West, as well as Confucianism in Three Keys, an ICC course that weaves together History, Philosophy, and Politics. In future semesters I will also teach UHC: Modern East Asia, Contemporary China, along with a new course on historical memory, trauma, and identity in Asia.
Grace is also one of the co-organizers of the History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine seminar series.