Hi there! I’m the Canada Research Chair in Early Modern Studies and Associate Professor of History. My main research fields are the histories of science and medicine, early modern (Ming-Qing) China, and translation (broadly conceived), and I currently work and teach in Manchu studies. I like to play with conventional forms of historical narrative and to open up and disassemble the basic building blocks of the historian’s craft. I think a lot about how historians create their objects, and what the consequences of a more dynamic understanding of materiality and the ontology of objects might be for practicing the art of history (broadly) and writing histories of translated and multiple objects (specifically).
My first book, The Monkey and the Inkpot: Natural History and its Transformations in Early Modern China (Harvard University Press, 2009), was a study of belief-making in early modern Chinese natural history through the lens of the Bencao gangmu (1596), a compendium of materia medica. My work right now is focused on trying to understand identification, equivalence, sameness, and individuation as historical processes, and does so by looking at translation among words, individuals, materials, and bodies.
I’m doing this in one book project by excavating the peoples and practices of official translation bureaus in Ming and Qing China, and I’m especially interested in dictionaries and glossaries as literary texts. In another research project I’m looking more specifically at the translation of the natural world (and images and descriptions thereof) in the Qing, with a focus on Manchu texts. In a final very-long-term project, I’m honing in on practices of resemblance and translation in the context of medieval and early modern Chinese-Arabic-Persian exchange.
I also host the New Books in East Asian Studies and New Books in Science, Technology, and Society podcast channels.
My office hours for the 2015-2016 academic year are by appointment. Please email me to set up a time to meet!
Nappi reviews Renaissances: The One or the Many? by Jack Goody.
Nappi reviews Inventing the Indigenous: Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe by Alix Cooper.
For a more regularly updated introduction to me (as teacher and learner and writer and human) see my personal website at http://www.carlanappi.com. I haven't had time to update the individual information-sections on this university website, but you can find that stuff on the cv hidden at the bottom of the "About" section of my personal website.