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Yuan Yi

Assistant Professor, History


Yuan Yi
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext.

Yuan is a historian of science and technology in global China and East Asia. Her current book project, Industrial Craft: Machine and Knowledge in the Global Making of Chinese Cotton Mills, 1890-1937, examines the mechanization of cotton spinning in China with emphasis on the transpacific circulation of spinning machines, cotton varieties, and technical experts. Drawing upon machine manuals, engineering journals, agricultural reports, and contracts between American machine firms and Chinese cotton mills, it shows how the Chinese addressed technological issues specific to American machines that failed to process short-staple Chinese cotton, through continued modification and repair of the foreign machines on the shop floor while replacing native cotton with American varieties in cotton fields. This project has been supported by the D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science and Technology in East Asia, the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, and the Harvard Business School.

A portion of the research on the modification of American spinning machinery on the Chinese shop floor has appeared in Technology and Culture, an earlier version of which was awarded the Samuel Eleazar and Rose Tartakow Levinson Prize by the Society for the History of Technology.

Born and raised in South Korea, Yuan earned her PhD from Columbia University in 2020, where she held a postdoctoral fellowship prior to joining the faculty of Concordia in 2022. She welcomes inquiries from students of color as well as international students.

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