‘Ground for Knowing: Minerals, Mining Science and the Making of Modern China’s Territory (1860–1937)’ (PhD in History, 2018). The thesis uses mining science (kuangxue) to examine the relationship between science and socio-cultural change in late Qing and early Republican China (1860–1937). It explores the ways in which the theoretical and applied knowledge of minerals and mining intersected with the conceptualisation of the territory of modern China. Mining science, upon its introduction into China in the late nineteenth century, initiated the knowledge of mineralogy, geology and mining technology, which projected minerals into the domain of modern science. This thesis argues that modern mining science permeated the intellectual and public understanding of modern China, its people and the land it occupied. Thus, on various levels it imagined and demarcated China’s territory through discourse. In this way, this thesis tests the relationship between the ‘modern’ in modern China and the ‘modern’ in modern science, contending that it is on the premise of the former that the latter became intelligible.
Supervisors: Professor Antonia Finnane, Dr Simon Creak