International Conference on Traditional Sciences in Asia 2017: East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth

Dates: 25 (WED) – 28 (SAT) October 2017
Place: Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Following the “International Workshop on Traditional Science in Asia (IWTSA) – Overlapping Cosmology in Pre-modern Asia”, which took place 17-19 June, 2015 at Kyoto University, we would like to bring together once again the leading scholars in the field of history of astronomy and astral science in various parts of Asia for an international conference on the topic of “East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth”. While we tend to think of astronomical knowledge as unique to each civilization, the participants will share insights from historical studies and scientific projects exploring how different traditions interact across borders and cultures, making the science of the universe one of the most cosmopolitan knowledge systems. With particular focus on Asia – a region whose long scientific tradition has been understudied compared to that of its Western counterpart – the participants will discuss from different angles how pre-modern science had been transmitted, transformed and acculturated as they cross linguistic and cultural borders, past and present.

The proposed workshop in Kyoto will aim at promoting an in-depth dialogue between scholars of different disciplines and regional focuses through a combination of keynote lectures, panel sessions and a guided visit to historical places related to astronomical observation in Kyoto. Kyoto has been one of the leading centers of astronomical knowledge for centuries, and Kyoto University has been known for its research in the history of science. This conference will be our yet another effort to deepen our understanding the relationship between traditional and modern scientific knowledge through sustained, interdisciplinary dialogues among scholars of both the Eastern and Western traditions.

Proposed Topics/Panels topics

  1. East Asian astral and geo-sciences: science and the state; Conceptualizing, imaging and mapping heaven and earth; traditional mathematical astronomy ; transition to modern science
  2. South Asian (Indian and Buddhist) Astral and geo-sciences
  3. West Asian (Near Eastern) Astral and geo-sciences
  4. Reception and transmission of foreign sciences in Asia
  5. Contemporary research on historical astronomy and geo-sciences: eclipses and earth’s rotation; supernovae; solar-terrestrial physics, e.g. aurorae; archaeomagnetism; earthquakes