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The Research Project “Chinese Everyday Technologies” - Introduction


From 2002 to 2005 the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung) was funding the research project “History and Anthropology of Chinese Everyday Technologies”. It was based at Berlin Technical University and collaborates with the Institute of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, History of Science and Technology and the Study Group for the History and Philosophy of Chinese Science and Technology as well as the East Asian Seminar of Berlin Free University (section Prof. von Mende).
The topic of this technical-anthropologically and everyday-historiographically oriented research project was the way in which people in China have since earliest times been organising their basic necessities. Chinese people have implemented culturally obstinate, flexibly adaptable technologies in their daily lives. These are to be understood on the background of the sociotechnical systems of the different periods of Chinese history and have developed in line with basic cultural technological choices.
There were three aspects to the research project: (i) basic research with the aim to produce an outline of a history of Chinese everyday technologies; (ii) the training of young researchers; (iii) setting up a database that will be a valuable resource to researchers in the area (particularly on the subjects of clothing, alimentation, dwelling and communication).

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