Thesis ID: CBB148300362

Toward a Global Enlightenment: Music, Missionaries, and the Construction of a Universal History in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century China and Europe (2021)


Qingfan Jiang (Author)
Sisman, Elaine (Advisor)

Columbia University
Sisman, Elaine
Publication date: 2021
Language: English

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 317

My dissertation explores the transmission of musical knowledge between China, Portugal, and France in the context of a global Enlightenment. Through the lenses of two treatises authored by Jesuit missionaries serving at the Chinese Imperial Court––one introducing Western music to China, the other introducing Chinese music to France––I investigate how music and the system of knowledge represented by each treatise challenged their audience's worldview: although their interpretation differed, both the Europeans and the Chinese acknowledged China as the origin of the Western civilization. I argue that this construction of a universal history that accommodates all cultures on a single timeline shows there was a common effort across the globe to systematize the diversity of the world's musical cultures into one coherent principle and, more importantly, that the Enlightenment did not originate in Europe but was built on a shared effort of the East and the West to use history to make sense of the expanding globe. My research offers a new model for musicological studies by situating music at the intersection between East Asian Studies, Mission Studies, History of Science, and Global History. Moreover, it challenges the preconceived notion of the Enlightenment as a purely European phenomenon and argues instead that the Enlightenment was global at its inception. In doing so, it moves beyond the framework of dissemination and the comparative approach that characterize much of the past scholarship on global history. Emphasizing simultaneous emergence over successive development and integration over connection, I examine how local societies actively incorporated foreign systems of knowledge in the face of globalizing forces and how this incorporation not only expanded but also transformed their conception of the world.

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Authors & Contributors
Chen, Hui-hung
Cheng, Yu-Yin
Elman, Benjamin A.
Fleck, Eliane Cristina Deckmann
Golvers, Noël
Halsberghe, Nicole
East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Intellectual History Review
Journal of World History
Physics in Perspective
Oxford University Press
Faber & Faber
Hackett Publishing Company
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Chicago Press
Missionaries and missions
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Science and religion
Transmission of ideas
Cross-cultural comparison
Ricci, Matteo
Kangxi, Emperor of China
Schall von Bell, Johann Adam
Verbiest, Ferdinand
Xu, Guangqi
Dentrecolles, François Xavier
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
16th century
19th century
Qing dynasty (China, 1644-1912)
20th century
East Asia
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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