Gregory Blue

Gregory Blue


Since 1990 Gregory Blue has taught world history in the History Department of the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Prior to taking that position, from 1977 until 1990, he was a research associate at the Needham Research Institute / East Asian History of Science Library, where he also acted as the personal assistant to Joseph Needham.

Gregory Blue's current research projects include work on the history of Western views of Chinese history and society and an intellectual biography of Joseph Needham. He has research interests in international politics, Western intellectual and cultural history, the comparative history of science, international social movements, comparative economic and social history, Chinese and Indian history since 1400, and the history of colonial and post-colonial societies.



This site includes:

  1. A short C.V. of Gregory Blue (including contact information)
  2. An outline of teaching activities
  3. A list of publications
  4. Organisational activities


I. Short Curriculum Vitae

Current Position:

Associate Professor
Department of History
University of Victoria
Victoria BC V8W 3P4
Tel. +1 250 721 7388 / Fax +1 250 721 8772

Previous Position (1977-1990):

Research Associate
Needham Research Institute
Cambridge, England

Educational Qualifications:

Ph.D., 1989, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England) - Doctoral Dissertation: China in Western Social Thought, with special reference to contributions from Montesquieu to Max Weber (Faculty of Social and Political Science)
B.Phil., 1972, Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Louvain, Belgium)
B.A.(Philosophy major), 1971, St Vincent de Paul Seminary (Boynton Beach, Florida, USA)


II. Teaching and Supervision

1. Undergraduate teaching and supervision:

In recent years Gregory Blue has regularly taught the following world history courses:

  • Introduction to Twentieth-Century World History (HIST 105);
  • The Making of the Third World, 1450-1914 (HIST 465);
  • Twentieth-century Decolonisation (HIST 466);
  • Chinese Communism (HIST 434B);
  • Western Visions of 'Other' Societies (HIST 467).

He has been the History Department's Honours Adviser for 1995-99 and 2000-02, and he has taught the Honours seminar "Approaches to History" from 1996 to 1999 and in 2000-02. He has supervised Honours essays and directed studies projects in the areas of intellectual and cultural history, Chinese history, South Asian history, colonial and post-colonial African and Middle Eastern history, and Caribbean history.

2. Graduate teaching and supervisions:

Gregory Blue's graduate teaching since 1990 has included seminars on world history (some co-taught with Ralph Croizier) and on modern Chinese history, as well as directed reading courses on world history, Chinese history, African history, intellectual history and the history of science.

Since 1992, Dr Blue has supervised or is currently supervising M.A. theses and Ph.D. dissertation on the following topics:

  • The ending of the system of Indian indentured labour in Fiji;
  • Karl Mannheim's historical sociology of knowledge;
  • Machiavelli's Castruccio Castracani;
  • Representations of Algerian women in French colonial literature.
  • Photographic representations of B.C. First Nations' people;
  • Women in late colonial Southern Rhodesia;
  • The social history of discovery in the 20th-century life sciences;
  • James Mill's History of India;
  • History and theology in the works of Hugh of St Victor;
  • Resistance to innovation in the 20th-century life sciences;
  • Eritrean national liberation struggles, 1930s-1980s.

He has recently or is currently serving as a member of thesis committees for students working in the areas of Chinese history, Indian history, comparative history, the history of science, intellectual history, colonialism, contemporary social and political movements, and international relations. He has recently or is currently serving on graduate committees for the Departments of Pacific & Asian Studies, Political Science, Economics, English and Anthropology as well as in the History Department.


III. List of Publications and Works Submitted for Publication


  1. Books
  2. Refereed Journal Articles
  3. Chapters
  4. Web-based Publications
  5. Film Interview
  6. Book Reviews
  7. Published Reports
  8. Miscellaneous Short Articles

1. Books

(Editor [with A. Abdel-Malek & M. Pecujlic]) Science and Technology in the Transformation of the World: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Transformation of the World held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, October 1979. Tokyo: United Nations University (UNU) Press, 1981.

(Editor [with M. Pecujlic & A. Abdel-Malek] The Transformation of the World. Volume 1: Science and Technology. (Text by G. Blue. Preface by A. Abdel-Malek.) Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1981.

La Transformación del mundo: la ciencia y la technología (Spanish translation of previous title) Mexico City: Siglo Vientiunos, 1982.

(Editor) Memory at the Margins: world history and anthropology. (Introduction by G. Blue) University of Victoria World History Caucus, May, 1995.

(Editor [with T. Brook]) China and Historical Capitalism. (With introduction and contributions by the editors, and further contributions by F. Bray, I. Wallerstein, & R.B. Wong). (Studies in Modern Capitalism). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and Paris: Maison des Sciences de l'Homme.

(Editor [with C. Jami and P. Engelfriet]) Statecraft and Intellectual Renewal in Late Ming China: The Cross-Cultural Approach of Xu Guangqi (1562-1633). Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2001.

[In press] (Editor [with M. Bunton and R. Croizier]) Colonialism and the Modern World: Selected Studies. White Plains, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2002.

[In preparation] China and Western Social Thought, 1650-1912. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2. Articles Published in Refereed Journals

"Réflexions sur une métaphore chinoise", in: Les Amis de Sèvres (Centre International d'Etudes Pédagogiques) [special issue devoted to international currents in philosophy] 4 (Dec. 1984), pp. 11-15.

"Kexue yu lishi: wenming bianzhengguande yixie lilun wenti" [Science and history: some theoretical problems of civilizational dialectics], in: Ziran kexue xueshu jikai Exploration of Nature. [Chengdu: Sizhuan Kexue Jishu Chubanshe (Ssechuan Science Press)] vol. 5, 1986, no. 3, pp. 173-80.

"Customising Progress: Some Historical Perspectives on Human Values and the Modernisation of China" in Dialectics and Humanism (Warsaw), 1987, no. 3, pp. 79-89. Also in the Proceedings of the International Symposium on "Science, Technology and Spiritual Values: An Asian Approach to Modernization", Tokyo: Sophia University and United Nations University, 1987.

"Joseph Needham et l'histoire chinoise" in Revue Préface [Paris], no. 15, October- November 1989; pp. 92-97; abbreviated version published as "Joseph Needham and the Study of Chinese History", in China Now, no. 114, Autumn 1985; pp. 33-35.

"The Chinese Presence in Europe", (Essay review of Etiemble, L'Europe chinoise, 2 vols. Paris: Gallimard, 1988-89) in Comparative Criticism [Cambridge U.P.], vol. XII, 1990, pp. 283-98.

"Marco Polo et les Pâtes", in: Médiévales [Presses universitaires de Vincennes & Université de Paris VIII], no. 20, printemps 1991, pp. 91-98.

"Joseph Needham - a Publication History" in: Chinese Science [UCLA], no. 17, 1997; pp. 90-132.

"Joseph Needham, Heterodox Marxism, and the Social Background of Chinese Science", Science & Society [New York], vol. 62, no. 2 (Summer 1998); pp. 195-217.

"Gobineau on China: Race Theory, the Yellow Peril, and the Critique of Modernity", Journal of World History Vol. 10, no. 1 Spring, 1999, pp. 93-142; modified version in Actes du VIIIe Colloque International de Sinologie de Chantilly. De la chinoiserie à la sinophobie, (Collection Variétés Sinologiques - Nouvelle Série), Institut Ricci, Paris, pp. 353-402.

"On Adam Grosrichard's The Sultan's Court: European Fantasies of the East." Comparative Criticism XXII, pp. 231-42.


[In press] "Scientific Humanism at the Founding of UNESCO" Comparative Criticism XXIII.

3. Chapters

"Joseph Needham's Contribution to the History of Science and Technology in China", in: A. Abdel-Malek, G. Blue & M. Pecujlic, (eds.), Science and Technology in the Transformation of the World: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Transformation of the World. Tokyo: United Nations University (UNU) Press, 1981. [Also issued as published as stand alone off-print.]

[Translation](with L. De Decker)], "Symposium: Economic Anthropology & History the Work of Karl Polanyi", in: Research in Economic Anthropology, 4 (1981) pp. 1-69. (French original in Annales E.S.C., December 1974).

"Marx and the crisis in Western hegemony of historiography", in: Marx e il Mondo Contemporaneo: communicazioni e inteventi del convegno dell'Istituto Gramsci, 16-19 novembre 1983. Conference proceedings in original languages] Rome: Editori riuniti.

"Marco Polo's Pasta" published in Hakim Mohammed Said (ed.) Science and Society. Joseph Needham Felicitation Volume. Hamdard, Karachi, 1990, pp. 39-48. For French version in Mediévales [Paris], see above under articles.

"Chinese Influences on the Enlightenment in Europe", in Knowledge Across Cultures: Universities East and West, R. Hayhoe et al., eds. Wuhan: Hubei Education Press & Toronto: OISE Press, 1994, chapter 22, pp. 309-22.

"Adam Schall and the Jesuit Mission in China in Vondel's Zungchin" chapter in: Roman Malek et al. (eds), Western Learning and Christianity in China. The Contribution of Johann Adam Schall von Bell (1592-1666), 2 vols. Monumenta Serica Monograph Series, XXXV/1 & 2. Sankt Augustin [Germany]: China-Zentrum & Monumenta Serica Institute, 1998.

"Science(s), Civilisation(s), Historie(s): a Continuing Dialogue with Joseph Needham", chapter in: S. Irfan Habib and Druva Raina (eds), Situating the History of Science: Dialogues with Joseph Needham. New Delhi & London: Oxford University Press. [Expected in late 1998]

"China in Western Social Thought", in: Brook & Blue (eds.), China and Historical Capitalism. Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 57-109.

"Opium for China: the British Connection" in T. Brook & R. Wakabayashi (eds.), Opium Regimes: Britain, China, Japan, University of California Press, 2000, pp. 31-54.

"Xu Guangqi and the West: Early Jesuit Sources and the Construction of an Identity" in C. Jami, P. Engelfriet & G. Blue (eds), Statecraft and Intellectual Renewal in the Late Ming: The Cross-Cultural Approach of Xu Guangqi (1562-1633). Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2001, pp. 19-71.

[In press] "Joseph Needham, Heterodox Marxism, and the Historiography of Chinese Science" in: Proceedings of the 20th International Congress for the History of Science. [expected in 2001]

[In press] "Joseph Needham" in Peter Harman & Simon Mitton (eds.), Cambridge Scientific Minds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [expected late 2001]

[In press] "Introduction" to Blue, Bunton and Croizier (eds.), Colonialism and the Modern World. White Plains, NY: M.E. Sharpe. [expected early 2002]

4. Web-based Publications
(Editor [with A. Abdel-Malek & M. Pecujlic]) Science and Technology in the Transformation of the World: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Transformation of the World held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, October 1979.
Tokyo: United Nations University (UNU) Press, 1981.
(Editor [with
M. Pecujlic & A. Abdel-Malek] The Transformation of the World. Volume 1: Science and Technology. (Text by G. Blue. Preface by A. Abdel-Malek.) Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1981.

"China and the Writing of World History in The West" at the website of the XIX International Congress of the Historical Sciences (Oslo 2000)
[Accessible through Programme at "Major Themes" Major Theme 1: "Perspectives on global history: concepts and methodology"; Session 1a) "Is universal history possible?"]

11-Sep-2001 Panel
"The 11 September Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: Background and Responses. Panel discussion held on 20 September 2001 at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada, in the lunchtime seminar series "World Affairs in Historical Perspective", sponsored by the World History Caucus and the Department of History.

5. Film Interview

[Videofilm] "Joseph Needham interviewed by Gregory Blue", in the series Interviews with Historians. Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 1990.

6. Book reviews

(With J. Needham), "The Universality of Science, Cultural Relativism and the Third World", review article of C. Alvares, Homo Faber: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West from 1500 to the Present Day (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1980) in: Minerva, XVIII, 2 (Summer 1980), pp. 360-63. Abbreviated version in Pacific Affairs, vol. 54, no. 1 (Spring, 1981), pp. 116-18.

"China: the Promise and the Problems", review of T. B. Tang, Science and Technology in China (London: Longmann, 1984), in: Nature, 312 (Dec. 1984) p. 669.

J. I. Israel. Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740 (London, Oxford U.P., 1989), in: Journal of World History, vol. 4, 2 (Fall 1993), 341-44.

Derek Bodde, Chinese Thought, Science and Society (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1991) and Toby Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science. Islam, China and the West. (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993) in: Journal of World History, 7, 1 (Spring) 1996; pp. 137-41.

Paul E. Lovejoy and Jan Hogendorn, Slow Death to Slavery. The Course of Abolition in Northern Nigeria, 1897-1936 (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1993). Journal of World History, 7, 1 (Spring), pp. 149-52.

7. Published Reports

"General Report on the 'Symposium on Geo-Cultural Visions of the World'" [Symposium sponsored by the United Nations University and the East Asian History of Science Library and hosted by Robinson College, Cambridge (October, 1982)] Tokyo: UNU Press, 1982.

"Conference on 'The Historical Dynamics of Oriental Societies'", in: Needham Research Institute Newsletter, 7 (Jan. 1990), pp. 1-3.

"Anthropology and World History: Common Ground Explored at Annual UVic Workshop" in: University of Victoria World History Newsletter, Spring 1994, p. 1.

"Making Sense of the 20th Century" [Conference report] in: UVic World History Newsletter, Spring 1995; pp. 1-3.

"World History Association Annual Conference" in: UVic World History Newsletter, Spring 1997; pp. 1-2.

"Notes on the Recent World History Lecture Series" in: UVic World History Newsletter, Summer 1997; p. 4.

"Report on the Annual UVic World History Workshop" in UVic World History Newsletter, Spring 1998; p. 2.

"Eight Annual World History Association Conference" in UVic World History Newsletter, Winter 1999.

8. Miscellaneous short articles

"A.C. Moule and Marco Polo", in Needham Research Institute Newsletter, no. 6 (June 1989), pp. 2-3.

"A.C. Moule and Marco Polo: an addendum" in: Needham Research Institute Newsletter, no. 8 (June 1990); p. 3

"Is There a Gorbachev for China?" in Peace Magazine (Toronto) Jan.-Feb. 1991, 16-17 & 30.

"A Passion for Science: Gwei-Djen Lu-Needham" in: The Guardian (12 December 1992) Reprinted in: Lu Gwei-Djen: A Commemoration. Edinburgh: Pentland Press, 1993, pp. 8-9.

"Readings in Western Visions of 'Other' Societies" in: UVic World History Newsletter. Spring 1994, p. 3.

"Dr. Joseph Needham" [Obituary] in: Canadian College for Chinese Studies Journal. Vol. 1, no. 2 (1996) p. 3 & 9.

"Wrong Man" [Letter to the editor] London Review of Books, 21 August 1997; p. 3.

Entries in Making History. An Encyclopedia of Historiography (D.R. Woolf, ed.) Garland Press, New York. Entries on "Comparative history", "Eberhard, Wolfram" and "Sun Yirang".

IV. Organisational activities

Co-organiser [with Martin Bunton] "World Affairs in Historical Perspective" Lunchtime Seminar series at the University of Victoria, 1998 - present.

Co-organiser [with Heloisa Bertol Domingues and Patrick Petitjean]. Symposium “Refounding International Scientific Exchanges in the Immediate Post-War Period: the Exact and Natural Sciences Division of UNESCO in its First Years”, organised for the Commission on the History of Science and Empire at the XXI International Congress of History of Science (Mexico City, July 2001).

Panel organiser, "Who’s There? The Author and the Other in the Tale of the Marvellous East" at the 2001 American Historical Association Conference (Boston, January 2001).

Member of the organising committees for the 8th Annual World History Association Conference, "Colonialism, Its Impact and Legacy" (Victoria, June 1999).

Member of the organising committees for the conference "Making History, Constructing Race" (Victoria, October 1998).

Organiser, University of Victoria Humanities Centre Symposium "Making Sense of the Twentieth Century" (Victoria, September1994).

Organiser, Needham Research Institute Inaugural Conference, "The Dynamics of Oriental Societies" (Cambridge, September 1989).


Last updated: 11 July 2002