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Title: The sceptre and the sextant : imperialism and scientism in the travelogues of Johan Nieuhof, Lord George Macartney, and A.E. van Braam Houckgeest
Author: Sanchez, R.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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In this paper, I discuss the interrelation between scientism and imperialism, as it plays out in three milestone travelogues written on China in the 17th and 18th centuries; namely, the travelogues of Johan Nieuhof (1669), Lord George Macartney (1797), and Andreas Everard van braam Houckgeest (1798). Understanding the lasting significance of these texts, I argue, requires placing them - and by extension the embassies which originated them - in context of the burgeoning scientific ideology of their era. To do this, I will first introduce my key texts, and argue for why I believe they can be considered sites of inquiry into the impact of scientific ideology upon Western European conceptions of China. Then I will discuss in more detail my theoretical framework, its derivation, my exegetical methodology, and my justifications for making such an analysis of Nieuhof, Macartney, and Houckgeest. Then, to set the stage for the close readings to come, I will consider the comparative levels of scientific and technological sophistication in Western Europe and China during the long 18th century, as well as the current state of this academic discourse itself, by reviewing various essential works on the subject. In my second chapter, I will perform my analysis of Nieuhof's travelogue. In my third, I will overview a selection of texts by Sir William Temple, who will be considered as an ideological foil to Nieuhof. In chapters four and five, I will analyse the travelogues of Lord George Macartney and A.E. van Braam Houckgeest respectively, extending to them the methodology already applied to Nieuhof. Then in chapter six, I will briefly set aside my diplomats to address historian of the book Benjamin Schmidt's critique of author-focused exegeses of premodern Dutch travel literature - a critique which, in calling into question the legitimacy of analyses like my own, demands address. I will overview my exegeses and suggest avenues for future research in chapter seven. And finally, in my epilogue, I will conclude my thesis by briefly sketching an example of how the relationship between early modern scientism and imperialism continued to develop into the 19th century.
Supervisor: Zhuang, Y. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available