A Hundred Crafts: Technology, Knowledge, and the Military in Late Chos┼Ćn Korea, 1592-1910


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


East Asian Languages and Civilizations


Military workshops became the center of material and knowledge production in Korea from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. A wide-ranging cast of artisans, officers, and technologists found work in the military institutions of Seoul, tasked at first with the manufacture of munitions such as muskets and powder, but also with engineering city walls, royal tombs, and pontoon bridges, and with testing state-of-the-art clocks, screw pumps, and steam engines. This project examines the origins of such military-technical productivity from the perspective of science and technology studies. It recovers the military in premodern Korea as a vibrant site of making and knowing, a milieu where technical knowledge was created, exchanged, and practiced. By foregrounding this hub of crafts, the project explores neglected registers of science and technology that existed outside of Europe and before the advent of the industrial age.