Title: Gordon Wu '58 Professor of Chinese Studies. Professor of East Asian Studies and History. Chair, Department of East Asian Studies.
Field: East Asian history
Office: 208 Jones Hall
Benjamin Elman is Professor of East Asian Studies and History with his primary department in East Asian Studies. His teaching and research fields include: 1) Chinese intellectual and cultural history, 1000-1900; 2) history of science in China, 1600-1930; 3) history of education in late imperial China; 4) Sino-Japanese cultural history, 1600-1850. He received his Ph.D. in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania (1980) and came to Princeton in 2002 from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1999 to 2001 he was the Mellon Visiting Professor in Traditional Chinese Civilization at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ). His publications include: From Philosophy To Philology (1984, 1990, 2001); Classicism, Politics, and Kinship (1990); A Cultural History of Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China (2000). He has recently completed two book projects: On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550-1900 (2005), and A Cultural History of Modern Science in Late Imperial China (2006). He is currently working on a project entitled "The Intellectual Impact of Late Imperial Chinese Classicism, Medicine, and Science in Tokugawa Japan, 1700-1850".
Professor Elman recently completed a book project entitled A Short Cultural History of Modern Science in Late Imperial China (Harvard University Press, 2006), which is designed as a textbook for a wider audience. He is currently studying the cultural interactions in East Asia during the 18th century, in particular the impact of Chinese classical learning, medicine, and natural studies on Tokugawa Japan and Choson Korea. He is also coauthor for the East Asian parts of a world history textbook, which represents the companion volume to Worlds Together, Worlds Apart [2002, 2008] and covers from prehistoric times up to 1300.
Professor Elman teaches undergraduate courses on the cultural and social history of China and on perceptions of China and Asia in the West, as well as a document-based course for sophomores in History addressing various topics in Chinese history, including the travels of Marco Polo, the Sino-Japanese War, and the Jesuits in China. He teaches graduate-level courses on the classical historiography of China, the history of education in China, the history of science in China, and (with Professor Susan Naquin) material culture and technology in China.
1. From Philosophy to Philology: Intellectual and Social Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China
2. A Cultural History of Modern Science in China
3. A Cultural History of Civil Examinations in Late Imperial China
4. On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550-1900
5. Civil Examinations and Meritocracy in Late Imperial China