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Found in Translation: Western Science Books, Maps, and Music in China, 1860s-1920s

Fu, Liangyu (2013) Found in Translation: Western Science Books, Maps, and Music in China, 1860s-1920s. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation explores a seminal episode in the history of global information flow. It unfolds a socio-cultural history of science books, maps, and sheet music that were originally authored and published in the U.S. and Britain, but which began a new life cycle through translation and printing in China during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Western learning was introduced into China to an unprecedented degree. By looking at imprints published by and translation activities conducted in diverse institutes such as the Jiangnan Arsenal, the Canton Hospital, and the China Medical Missionary Association, I investigate how Western technical knowledge was communicated to a culture with a radically different language, epistemology, book-making and printing tradition, and convention of viewing.
In this dissertation, I present a multidimensional analysis of translations through discussing their materiality, textuality, visuality, and interculturality. I first examine how the making of the translated page was conditioned by book cultures as different as Western and traditional Chinese ones. Printer-publishers’ strategies of adapting special content to the Chinese page resulted in imprints demonstrating hybridized bibliographical properties, found in their paratextual elements. These traces indicated that translations of Western science books, maps, and music stood on the vanguard of the amalgamation of two bookmaking cultures. Furthermore, I analyze translators’ diverse textual and visual strategies. While translators strived to adapt Western works for local readers, they also applied their understanding of the original text, augmented it with updates, and rearranged its organization. The visual representations in translations contributed to the transformation of Chinese visual conventions. Different types of visual modifications were caused by illustrators’ indigenizing efforts, their artistic training and workshop practices, contemporary intellectual trends, and their accommodations to new printing and reproduction technologies. Finally, I reveal the mechanism of intercultural, international, and interlingual communication networks—the underlying force that facilitated translation at every stage—which include the collaboration between oral and scribal translators and inter/intra-organizational connections among a wide range of networked agents (e.g., translators, printer-publishers, illustrators, readers, and sponsors). I propose an extension of the “communication circuit” model to encompass new horizons for international and intercultural connections.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairZboray, Ronald J.zboray@pitt.eduZBORAY
Committee MemberOlson, Lester C.olson@pitt.eduOLSON
Committee MemberMalin, Brenton J.bmalin@pitt.eduBMALIN
Committee MemberRawski, Evelyn S.esrx@pitt.eduESRX
Date: 28 September 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 April 2013
Approval Date: 28 September 2013
Submission Date: 21 July 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 409
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Print Culture; Book History; Translation Studies; Visual Rhetoric; Communication Networks; Communication Circuit; Intercultural Communication; Western Science; Map; Sheet Music; Late-Qing China; Chinese Translations; Translator; Sponsor; Bibliographical Properties; Illustrations; Printing Technology; Electrotype; Jiangnan Arsenal; China Medical Missionary Association; Henry S. Wellcome China Publication Fund; Society for Translating and Printing Western Maps; Missionaries
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2013 23:17
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2018 05:15


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