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New book under advance contract!

October 15, 2015

I’m thrilled to announce that my second book is now under advance contract with University of Washington Press!

Lens onto the World:

Optical Devices, Art, Science, and Society in China

When the first Chinese treatise on optics appeared in the mid-nineteenth century, it was both inspired by and illustrated with a wide range of optical devices that had circulated in China for nearly four hundred years. Although originally imported from abroad, devices such as spectacles, telescopes, camera obscuras, peepboxes, and more were domesticated almost immediately, and considered part of art and visual culture more than of science and technology. This resulted in little scientific literature, but a wide range of images depicting the devices alone and in use, prints and paintings meant to be used with the devices, works resulting from the devices themselves, and illustrations appearing in technical and commercial treatises. These varied works consistently reveal that the effects of optical devices on vision and visuality arose from local culture and social class rather than from foreign ideas. Focusing on the forgotten relationship between optical devices and art in China from the fifteenth through early-twentieth centuries, Lens onto the World blends the histories of art and science to rediscover the objects and artworks that led to both the independent development of optics within Chinese science and encouraged new image technologies such as photography and cinema. With Chinese optical devices little studied in any field, rediscovering them and their sociocultural effects through the numerous related works of art reveals the intertwined histories of art, science, and society in the development of modern China.YZ 10th month det small

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