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Dr Hansun Hsiung

Assistant Professor

BA Yale, PhD Harvard

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Assistant Professor in the School of Modern Languages and CulturesER279, Elvet Riverside II+44 (0) 191 33 42414
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  


Hansun Hsiung combines methods from book history and the history of science to address fundamental problems in the global history of knowledge. His research to date has traced the transformation of print networks between Japan and western Europe, ca. 1750-1900, detailing—a story that thrusts missionaries, opium smugglers, and pirate publishers alongside samurai-scholars in the co-production of Western knowledge. In addition to a book manuscript, Learn Anything!: Cheap Print and the Education of the Modern World, he is at work editing a special issue on the role of "compression" as a virtue in communications and information management systems, as well as a second monograph project on the prehistory of long-distance image transmission, rethinking the genealogy of tele-vision before the advent of contemporary televisual technologies. Prior to his arrival at Durham, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Department II of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Music and Media Studies at Humboldt University (Berlin). His research has received support from the American Historical Association, the Association for Asian Studies, the Fulbright Program, and the Mellon Foundation.

Research interests

  • history of science
  • history of the book
  • global history
  • media studies
  • history of medicine
  • history of technology

Research Projects

  • Thinking East Asia

Esteem Indicators

  • Senior Fellow, Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography: service on Diversity & Outreach Committee and Selection Committee


Book review

  • Hsiung, Hansun (2022). Review of Technical Knowledge in Early Modern Japan. East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine
  • Hsiung, Hansun (2021). Review of The Knowledge of Nature and the Nature of Knowledge in Early Modern Japan. Canadian Journal of History
  • Hsiung, Hansun (2021). Review of Translation at Work: Chinese Medicine in the First Global Age. Medical History
  • Hsiung, Hansun (2021). Review of Into the Field: Human Scientists of Transwar Japan. Isis

Chapter in book

  • Hsiung, Hansun & Schwartz, Kathryn A. (2021). Lithography. In Information: A Historical Companion. Grafton, Anthony, Goeing, Anja-Silvia, Blair, Ann & Duguid, Paul Princeton University Press. 583-88.
  • Hsiung, Hansun (2018). Chi no rekishigaku to kindai sekai no tanjō [Histories of Knowledge and the Birth of the Modern World]. In = Edo-Meiji renzoku suru rekishi. Namikawa, Kenji & Furuie, Shinpei Fujiwara shoten. 52-67.
  • Hsiung, Hansun (2017). The Circle of Knowledge: Radical Commensurability and the Deaf Textbook. In The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices. Rogers, Asha, Mukhopadhyay, Priyasha & Kunstmann, Rouven Palgrave Macmillan. 161-187.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Hsiung, Hansun (2021). Japan’s love affair with the fax machine – a strange relic of technological fantasies. The Conversation

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • (2018). Timing the textbook: capitalism, development, and western knowledge in the nineteenth-century. digital.
  • Hsiung, Hansun, Frampton, Stephanie Ann, Hepler-Smith, Evan & Robertson, Craig (2017). Virtual Roundtable on “Compression”. online.