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Editor: Howard Chiang

This collection expands the history of Chinese medicine by bridging the philosophical concerns of epistemology and the history and cultural politics of transregional medical formations. Topics range from the spread of gingko’s popularity from East Asia to the West to the appeal of acupuncture for complementing in-vitro fertilization regimens, from the modernization of Chinese anatomy and forensic science to the evolving perceptions of the clinical efficacy of Chinese medicine.

The individual essays cohere around the powerful theoretical-methodological approach, “historical epistemology,” with which scholars in science studies have already challenged the seemingly constant and timeless status of such rudimentary but pivotal dimensions of scientific process as knowledge, reason, argument, objectivity, evidence, fact, and truth. Yet given that landmark studies in historical epistemology rarely navigate outside the intellectual landscape of Western science and medicine, this book broadens our understanding of its application and significance by drawing on and exploring the rich cultures of Chinese medicine. In studying the globalizing role of medical objects, the contested premise of medical authority and legitimacy, and the syncretic transformations of metaphysical and ontological knowledge, contributors illuminate how the breadth of the historical study of Chinese medicine and its practices of knowledge-making in the modern period must be at once philosophical and transnational in scope.

This book will appeal to students and scholars working in science studies and medical humanities as well as readers who are interested in the broader problems of translation, material culture, and the global circulation of knowledge.

David Luesink

6 State power, governmentality, and the (mis)remembrance of Chinese medicine David Luesink Introduction: anatomo-medicine and the body of Yuan Shikai On June 6, 1916 at ten o’clock in the morning, President Yuan Shikai died in Beijing. Attending were his two western-style physicians, Drs. Wong Wen-tso and J. A. Bussière, but also present were the Chinese-style physicians of his many wives, concubines, children, and servants.1 Here the stage was set for a battle of two therapeutic forms over the body of the most powerful man in the very fragile Republic: between

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Howard Chiang

1 Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine Howard Chiang The history of Chinese medicine is undergoing a sea-change. Scholars have engaged independently and collectively in re-imagining the discipline, contextualizing it in an unprecedented way within a broader context of the translation, transmission, and global circulation of knowledge.1 This is in many ways a new and exciting field, informed by questions that are meant to explore the emergence of different ways of knowing in and beyond modern China, rather than taking the existence of

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Bridie Andrews

4 Blood in the history of modern Chinese medicine Bridie Andrews Introduction Scientific knowledge about the human body has been changing rapidly since the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Generated by professional elites – doctors and scientists – this new knowledge appears in popular culture in ways that are shaped by that culture.1 This chapter investigates how new understandings of the human body were negotiated in Chinese culture during the century between 1850 and 1950, by using a single body fluid, blood, as a case study. This period has been

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Abstract only
How Chinese medicine became efficacious only for chronic conditions
Eric I. Karchmer

7 Slow medicine: how Chinese medicine became efficacious only for chronic conditions Eric I. Karchmer For many observers outside China, the efficacy of Chinese medicine remains in doubt or is only now just tentatively being confirmed by double blind clinical trials for a few specific interventions. Inside China, the picture is more complicated. Although there is no shortage of detractors, who reject Chinese medicine as a superstitious practice with little clinical merit, large numbers of people seem to accept the efficacy of Chinese medicine as well established

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Leon Antonio Rocha

9 How to make “acubabies” Leon Antonio Rocha “These encounters, mundane and extraordinary”: the narratives of Chinese medicine Interactions with biomedical professionals, relations with patients who move back and forth between biomedicine and traditional Chinese medicine, negotiations with healthcare policies and legislatures are not just occasional incidents but rather are the everydayness of Chinese medicine. It is through these encounters, mundane and extraordinary at the same time, that the very “core” of traditional Chinese medicine takes on specific

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Judith Farquhar

“traditional Chinese” institutionalization of the clinical has long been attentive to a certain first philosophy.7 However assiduously modern physicians and managers of “traditional Chinese medicine” (TCM) attempt to model in their practices and institutions the modern forms of hospitals and clinics, written case histories, Metaphysics at the bedside 221 disease classifications, and pharmaceutics, they nevertheless are witnesses to the daily emergence and disappearance of some objects that are not familiar to other modern sciences. In order to work at all, they must

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
The case of Wang Shixiong (1808–68)
Yi-Li Wu

been portrayed as deeply flawed: classical Chinese medical understandings of the structure of the human body. For centuries, Chinese texts on healing included written descriptions and visual images of the body’s material components – internal organs and circulation vessels, skin and flesh, sinews and bones – and they depicted such knowledge as therapeutically relevant.2 Beginning in the seventeenth century, however, as European observers began to learn about Chinese medicine, they pronounced it ignorant of and indifferent to “anatomy.”3 This narrative of anatomical

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Abstract only
"Experience" and "theory" in debates over forensic knowledge and expertise in early twentieth-century China
Daniel Asen

traction in Republican China.7 Under this new conception of occupational expertise, questions of epistemology  – defined in very specific ways  – became inseparable from assessments of professional authority. By implication, the quality of knowledge contained in the Washing Away of Wrongs became an important consideration in assessments of coroners’ suitability for a legal system now judged by global standards of forensic practice. Similarly entangled questions of professional and epistemological authority informed contemporary discussions of Chinese medicine.8 A senior

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine
Convergences and divergences in the medical and natural histories of Gingko biloba
Kuang-chi Hung

 mind 47 of medicine point out, in traditional Chinese medicine, indulgence in sexual activities drained vitality, which in turn emptied the body and invited “evil intruders” that sickened the body.26 Adding to and echoing Li’s reasoning of ginkgo’s therapeutic properties, both Huang and Zhao proposed a new range of applicability: retaining and replenishing vitality. Interestingly, we find a different course of medicalization of the ginkgo in Japanese materia medica.27 The book entitled Wago honzō kōmoku (和語本草 綱目, A Japanese Interpretation of Bencao Gangmu, 1698

in Historical epistemology and the making of modern Chinese medicine