HPS395Y0 Science, Development and Innovation in Contemporary China

Science and technology not only are vehicles to build a modern state, but also serve impetus for economic development in many countries.  In China, the development of science has intertwined with the transformation from self-reliance to an integrated node of global economy, and from planned to market economy.  We will use science and technology as a lens to analyze China’s resent social changes from Mao era to post-Mao years.  Utilizing interdisciplinary research, we will critically exam the concepts and practices of development, innovation, and science and technology.  

Prerequisites: None.
BR = 1+3
HPS395 Course outline

Field Trips: Students will participate in a two-day field trip to Shanghai to visit the Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre and the Shanghai Urban Exhibition Centre. The course design also includes field trips to key sites of innovations in China, including museums for Chinese medicine, IT and biotech companies, and makers’ lab in Shenzhen.

The cost of these trips is as follows:

  • CAD$665, paid to U of T for two night accommodation in Shanghai, roundtrip airfare from Hong Kong to Shanghai, entrance fees, guides and group bus transportation.
  • Approximately CAD$50, paid on-site some entrance fees, local transportation, and driver and guide tips.

Instructor: Wen-Ching Sung received doctoral degree in social anthropology from Harvard University. She is an Assistant Professor in the Institute for History & Philosophy of Science & Technology, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of East Asian Studies. Her research areas include medical anthropology and anthropology of science. Dr. Sung has studied BGI, the world largest genome center, since early 2000s. Based on this study, she is currently working on a monograph about the rapid development of science in China. This is an ethnographic and historical investigation of Chinese bioscience. In the book, Sung examines the concepts and practices of “innovation,” and Chinese scientific Entrepreneurs’ self-fashioning in the context of post-Mao society, capitalism, and international collaboration.

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