Francesca Bray

Professor Emerita


Social anthropology; technology; agriculture; medicine; science and society; sociology of knowledge; China, Europe, California



PhD, Cambridge University



The role of everyday technology in the formation of ideology and culture


Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China (University of California Press, 1997)

In this feminist history of eight centuries of private life in China, Bray inserts women into the history of technology and adds technology to the history of women. Taking issue with Orientalist images of Chinese women as simple victims of monolithic patriarchal oppression, Bray analyses technologies of space, work and reproduction in the construction of late
imperial Chinese gender roles. She proposes the concept of `gynotechnics', a set of everyday technologies which define
women's roles, as a creative new way to explore how societies translate moral and social principles into a web of material
forms and bodily practices.


Technology and Society in Ming China (1368-1644)

American Historical Association-Society for the History of Technology, `Historical Perspectives on Technology, Society and Culture' pamphlet series no. 1, AHA, Washington D.C., 2000.

A short book designed for use in high-school and undergraduate courses. From about 1500 to 1750 China was at the center of the world economy, with the highest exports of commodities and imports of silver of any country of the time. This book shows how the development of farming and textile technologies, added to advances in technologies of communication like hydraulic engineering, ship-building and printing, combined to propel Ming China to the level of a thoroughly commercialized consumer economy.