Centre of Taiwan Studies

Professor Ian Inkster

Key information

Centre of Taiwan Studies Professorial Research Associate
音雅恩 B.A (Econ), PhD, FRHS
Russell Square: College Buildings
Email address
Support hours
By Appointment



PhD (Sheffield 1975), FRHS (London 1983). Born in Warrington, raised in Khartoum, Edinburgh, Lowestoft, and Harlow, educated in England, with university faculty positions since 1973 in UK, Australia, Japan, and Taiwan. 

Original Specialisations

Original Specialisations - British and Japanese-based history of technological change and industrialisation, followed by comparative and global studies from the late 1980s. My book of 1991 introduced the themes of scientific and technological change into the basic analyses of global history since the 18th century. Monographic and text studies of Japanese industrialisation emphasised the manner in which that nation’s economic progress could be seen in global terms and under the exigencies of global imperatives.

Later Work

More comparative and global, wider East Asian perspectives, with especial reference to China and Taiwan and contemporary processes, and more inclusive of social and cultural perspectives in history

Substantial archival research

England and Scotland, Japan, Australasia, Taiwan, US, and India, lesser varied trips Asia and Europe. Over 100 journal and chapter publications, 13 books, over 300 book reviews and notices, editor of the journal History of Technology since 2001, (London, Bloomsbury), plus academic journalism.

Previous positions

1973-1996 lecturer, senior lecturer, professor and Head, Department of Economic History, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Since 1994 a frequent academic visitor and teacher in Taiwan, particularly at what is now Wenzou University of Foreign Languages, Kaohsiung, as a full professor since 2008. 1996-2014, Research Professor of International History, University of Nottingham Trent UK, and (from 2009-2015) Professor of Global History, Department of International Affairs, Wenzao Ursuline University of International Studies, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. To 2017 supervised to successful completion 29 doctoral students and about an equal number of MA, MSciSoc, MCom or MPhil students by research or mainly research. 

Visiting Positions (selected)

Senior Visiting Fellow, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA 1976; Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Developing Economies, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan 1979-80; Visiting Faculty Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan 1980; Visiting Fellow, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford University and St. Antony's College, Oxford University 1983-4; Visiting Scientist, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India 1987; Visiting Professor The Achievement Project, Oxford 1993-94; Visiting Professor Institute of European Studies, Nanhua University, Taiwan, 1995-2002; Professor of Global History, Department of International Cultural Studies, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages (since 2013 University of International Studies), Kaohsiung, Taiwan, November-December 2005 and thereafter to 2014; Leverhulme Visiting Fellow to Global Economic History Network, LSE, London, January-March 2006.


Recent publications include: ‘Economy, Technology and the Huttonian Enlightenment: Approaches to China in the International Political Economy since the Early Twentieth Century’, International History Review, XXXVII, 4, (2015), 809-840; ‘Shifting Forms of Power in East Asia’, Taipei Times, 22, September, 2017; and forthcoming 2018 with Ken Pomeranz et al, ‘Symposium Review of Tonio Andrade, The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History’, Journal of Chinese History, July 2018, 1-21. 

Research interests

Global History, East Asian History, Japanese History, History of Taiwan since circa 1800, Taiwan-China Relations.

My main projects for book-length publication at present are –

A study of cannibalism globally, in China, and in Taiwan from the 18th century to circa 1914
The Camphor Wars. A Study of Technology and the Indigenous peoples of Taiwan circa 1800-1930s
Science, Technology and Gender in British History circa 1700-1851
Madness and Society in Britain circa 1780-1914
Text on Methodology in History and Humanities for Dissertation and Thesis Students
Comparative Historical Studies of Technology and Intellectual Property Rights {Patenting}


Contact Ian