Kyoto University International Symposium:
International Conference on Traditional Sciences in Asia 2017:
East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth

Dates: 25 (WED) - 28 (SAT) October 2017
Place: Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan


  Following the "International Workshop on Traditional Science in Asia (IWTSA) - Overlapping Cosmology in Pre-modern Asia", which took place 17-19 June, 2015 at Kyoto University, we would like to bring together once again the leading scholars in the field of history of astronomy and astral science in various parts of Asia for an international conference on the topic of "East-West Encounter in the Science of Heaven and Earth". While we tend to think of astronomical knowledge as unique to each civilization, the participants will share insights from historical studies and scientific projects exploring how different traditions interact across borders and cultures, making the science of the universe one of the most cosmopolitan knowledge systems. With particular focus on Asia - a region whose long scientific tradition has been understudied compared to that of its Western counterpart - the participants will discuss from different angles how pre-modern science had been transmitted, transformed and acculturated as they cross linguistic and cultural borders, past and present.


  The proposed workshop in Kyoto will aim at promoting an in-depth dialogue between scholars of different disciplines and regional focuses through a combination of keynote lectures, panel sessions and a guided visit to historical places related to astronomical observation in Kyoto. Kyoto has been one of the leading centers of astronomical knowledge for centuries, and Kyoto University has been known for its research in the history of science. This conference will be our yet another effort to deepen our understanding the relationship between traditional and modern scientific knowledge through sustained, interdisciplinary dialogues among scholars of both the Eastern and Western traditions.


  • Seminar House of Graduate School of Science,Kyoto University (25-26, Oct.)
  • Institute for Research in Humanities,Kyoto University(27,Oct.)

Post-conference Tour:

  • A Thousand Years of History of Astronomy in Kyoto: 28 October, 2017 (TBC)

Proposed Topics/Panels topics

  1. East Asian astral and geo-sciences: science and the state; Conceptualizing, imaging and mapping heaven and earth; traditional mathematical astronomy ; transition to modern science
  2. South Asian (Indian and Buddhist) Astral and geo-sciences
  3. West Asian (Near Eastern) Astral and geo-sciences
  4. Reception and transmission of foreign sciences in Asia
  5. Contemporary research on historical astronomy and geo-sciences: eclipses and earth's rotation; supernovae; solar-terrestrial physics, e.g. aurorae; archaeomagnetism; earthquakes


  • Deadline for Abstract submission: March 31, 2017 (Method of abstract submission will appear soon.)
  • The conference will cover a variety of topics with different regional and historical focuses, all connected to the main theme of the conference, namely, the multifaceted development of scientific knowledge in Asia, the interconnectivity of knowledge of "heaven and earth" in different parts of Eurasia through different historical periods including the modern time.
  • To facilitate dialogues and exchange among specialists, we intend for each panel to have at least one international and one Japanese speaker. We expect to have the participation of thirty scholars (twenty from overseas and ten Japanese).
  • The conference fee will be JPY 10,000 (or USD 100), payable by all participants upon registration at the conference. This fee will cover program materials, banquet, lunch boxes and refreshments during the conference. Accommodation and travel subsidy will be provided to all invited participants who require them.