Nissan Seminar: Language as a Technology for Shaping Professional Identity: Translating ‘A Manual of the Steam Engine’ in Mid-Nineteenth Century Japan

Convener(s): Dr Juliana Buriticá Alzate, Dr Chinami Oka, Dr Alice Baldock, and Dr Olga Khomenko

Speaker(s): Dr Ruselle Meade


Jōki kikai sho (A Manual of the Steam Engine, 1869) was one of the first comprehensive textbooks for a first generation of Japanese marine engineers, and in it many new technical terms appear in print for the first time. In this talk, I examine the logic behind the creation of this new technical lexicon, asking how language was mobilized as a technology for shaping a new professional identity.


Ruselle Meade is a lecturer in Japanese studies at Cardiff University. Her recent publications include ‘Minakata Kumagusu in London: Challenging Eurocentrism in the Pages of Nature’ in Notes and Records: the Royal Society Journal for the History of Science (with Bernard Lightman), and ‘Science across the Meiji divide: Vernacular literary genres as vectors of science in modern Japan’ in History of Science.