Assembling the Cure: Materia Medica and the Culture of Healing in Late Imperial China
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CitationBian, He. 2014. Assembling the Cure: Materia Medica and the Culture of Healing in Late Imperial China. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractThis dissertation examines the intersection between the culture of knowledge and socio-economic conditions of late Ming and Qing China (1550-1800) through the lens of materia medica. I argue that medicine in China during this time developed new characteristics that emphasized the centrality of drugs as objects of pharmacological knowledge, commodities valued by authenticity and efficacy, and embodiment of medical skills and expertise. My inquiry contributes to a deeper understanding of the materiality of healing as a basic condition in early modern societies: on the one hand, textual knowledge about drugs and the substances themselves became increasingly available via the commoditization of texts and goods; on the other hand, anxiety arose out of the unruly nature of potent substances, whose promise to cure remained difficult to grasp in social practice of medicine.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12269850
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