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 fertilisation regimens, from the modernisation 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', which challenges the seemingly constant and timeless status of such rudimentary but pivotal dimensions of scientific process as kwledge, reason, argument, objectivity, evidence, fact, and truth. In studying the globalising role of medical objects, the contested premise of medical authority and legitimacy, and the syncretic transformations of metaphysical and ontological kwledge, contributors illuminate how the breadth of the historical study of Chinese medicine and its practices of kwledge-making in the modern period must be at once philosophical and transnational in scope.
Howard Chiang is Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese History at the University of Warwick