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Fa-ti Fan

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999
East Asia , History of Science, Environmental History, Nation and Empire
Click here for CV
Office: LT 817
Phone: (607) 777-2494

My research centers on the history of science, modern East Asia, nationalism, and imperialism. I am particularly interested in the issues of cultural encounter, knowledge translation, representations of nature, and inter/transnational cultural relations. I have published a book on British scientific encounters in Qing China and am currently working on two projects: one on the intersections of nature, nation, and international politics in Republican China and the other on science and mass politics in Communist China.

At Binghamton , I have taught a range of courses in East Asian history, the history of science, environmental history, and comparative and world history. I am happy to work with both undergraduate and graduate students who wish to study in these areas.

I have served on the editorial boards of Isis, the official journal of the History of Science Society, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, East Asian Science, Technology and Society, and the book series, Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Chatto & Pickering Publishers), among others.

Recent or current undergraduate courses:

  • Science and Technology in the Modern World
  • China in the Twentieth Century
  • World Environmental History
  • History of Imperialism
  • Landscape and the Historical Imagination
  • Animals and Society

Recent or current graduate courses:

  • Science, Technology, and the National Imagination
  • Nationalisms in East Asia
  • Historiography
  • Environmental History
  • Nature and Empire

Recent Publications



  • British Naturalists in QChina : Science, Empire, and Cultural Encounter (Harvard University Press, 2004). Chinese translation with a new preface (Beijing : Remin daxue chubanshe, 2011).

Articles and Essays:

  • "Science, State, and Citizens: Notes from Another Shore," Science and Its Histories, ed. Robert Kohler and Kathryn Olesko, Osiris 27 (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming in 2012).
  • "'Collective Monitoring, Collective Defense': Science, Earthquakes and Politics in Communist China," in a special issue of Science in Context on the sciences of earthquakes (forthcoming in 2012)
  • "Circulating Material Objects: The International Controversy over Antiquities and Fossils in Twentieth-Century China," in Circulating Knowledge, East and West, ed. Bernard Lightman, Gordon McQuat, and Larry Stewart (Brill, forthcoming)
  • "The Controversy over Spontaneous Generation in Republican China: Science, Culture, and Politics," Routes of Culture and Science in Modern China, ed. Benjamin Elman and Jing Tsu (Brill, forthcoming)
  • “Science in Cultural Borderlands: Methodological Reflections on the Study of Science, European Imperialism, and Cultural Encounter ,” East Asian Science, Technology, and Society: an International Journal 1: 2 (2008): 213-231.
  • “How Did the Chinese Become Native?: Science and the Search for National Origins in the May Fourth Era,” in Kai-wing Chow, et. al., eds., Beyond the May Fourth Paradigm: In Search of Chinese Modernity ( Lexington Books, 2008), 183-208
  • "East Asian STS: Fox or Hedgehog," East Asian Science, Technology, and Society 1: 2 (March 2008): 243-247.
  • “Redrawing the Map: Science in Twentieth-Century China ,” Isis 98 (September 2007), 524-538.
  • “Nature and Nation in Chinese Political Thought: the National Essence Circle in Early Twentieth-Century China ,” The Moral Authority of Nature , ed. Lorraine Daston and Fernando Vidal ( Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2004), 409-37.
  • “Science in a Chinese Entrepôt: British Naturalists and Their Chinese Associates in Old Canton .” Osiris 18 (2003): 60-78.
  • “Science and Informal Empire: Victorian Naturalists in China ,” British Journal for the History of Science 36 (2003), 1-26.
  • “Hybrid Discourse and Textual Practice: Sinology and Natural History in the Nineteenth Century,” History of Science , 38 (2000): 25-56.

 Grants and Fellowships (selected):

  • Visiting Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 2009-2010
  • Directeur d'Etudes Associé, Institut d'Etudes Avancées, Paris, Summer 2008.
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute of History of Natural Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing , September-October, 2007.
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica , Taiwan , 2007.
  • Visiting Scholar, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme and REHSEIS (CNRS and University of Paris VII), Paris , Summer 2005.
  • Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellowship, Spring 2005.
  • Mellon Fellowship, The Needham Research Institute, Fall 2003.
  • Dean's Research Semester Award, SUNY-Binghamton, Spring 2003.
  • Participant, Asian Studies Initiatives Grant, the Freeman Foundation, 2002-2005.
  • Individual Development Award, UUP/SUNY, 2001.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 1999-2000.
  • Small Grant, The China and Inner Asia Council, Association for Asian Studies, 1998.
  • Dissertation Research Grant, National Science Foundation, 1996-97.
  • Grant for Research Abroad, University of Wisconsin-Madison , 1996.
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, 1995-1996.
  • Dissertation Research Grant, National Science Foundation, 1996-97.
  • Grant for Research Abroad, University of Wisconsin-Madison , 1996.
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, 1995-1996.

Editorial and Other Professional Activities (selected):

  • Nominating Committee, History of Science Society, 2011
  • Executive Board, Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University

Editorial (selected):

  • Editorial Board, Osiris, 2011-
  • Editorial Board,《自然科学史研究》 (Studies in the History of Natural Sciences), 2009-
  • Associate Editorial Board, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 2007-
  • Editorial Board, East Asia Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal, 2006-
  • Editorial Board, Review, Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center , 2006-
  • Editorial Board, book series Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century ,Pickering & Chatto Publishers, 2005-
  • Advisory Editorial Board, Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society , 2004-2006.
  • Editorial Board, Metascience , 2002-4.

Last Updated: 12/13/17