Spencer D. Stewart G'17

Spencer D. Stewart
Doctoral Student
History
University of Chicago

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants 2017
Doctoral Student
History
University of Chicago
Cultivating a Scientific Farmer: Agricultural Science and the Search for Legitimacy in Republican China

My dissertation looks beyond popular discourses on science in Republican China (1912-1949) to address issues of credibility and authority among the rural farming population. With the emergence of an agricultural scientific community and the establishment of scientific institutions aimed at improving agriculture, agronomists employed the methods of cooperative agricultural extension from the United States in an attempt to legitimize new discoveries and cultivate scientifically-minded farmers. My project illustrates the transnational context in which the farming household was being reimagined by agronomists through extension work, and how extension work shaped popular views of science and impacted the rural economy throughout the Republican era.