This path was created by Nathaniel Isaacson.  The last update was by Kandra Polatis.

Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Mediated Worlds

Whether they depicted trains and railroads foreign or domestic, the images featured in Dianshizhai huabao are a reflection of how local print media was imbricated in the global circulation of print media. Images of coal smoke signaling the presence of the steam engine speak to an emerging aesthetics of development, and a subconscious attention to the role of fossil fuels in transforming the modern landscape. Foreign science news circulating from English into Chinese evinces a process of recycling and repurposing that regularly challenged the boundaries between science fact and science fiction. Descriptions of trains and steam technology appearing in venues like John Fryer's missionary journal, Gezhi huibian 格致汇编 (The Chinese Scientific Magazine) providing more detailed and technically accurate depictions of these technologies, offer an interesting counterpoint to the artisitic license and allusive language used in Dianshizhai. Finally, in the pages of Dianshizhai, we also see Chinese iterations of the 19th century theme of the train as a threat to human health and the landscape. 

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