Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing, and the West to 1848

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Harvard University Press, 2005 - History - 458 pages
2 Reviews

When did the West discover Chinese healing traditions? Most people might point to the "rediscovery" of Chinese acupuncture in the 1970s. In Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts, Linda Barnes leads us back, instead, to the thirteenth century to uncover the story of the West's earliest known encounters with Chinese understandings of illness and healing. As Westerners struggled to understand new peoples unfamiliar to them, how did they make sense of equally unfamiliar concepts and practices of healing? Barnes traces this story through the mid-nineteenth century, in both Europe and, eventually, the United States. She has unearthed numerous examples of Western missionaries, merchants, diplomats, and physicians in China, Europe, and America encountering and interpreting both Chinese people and their healing practices, and sometimes adopting their own versions of these practices.

A medical anthropologist with a degree in comparative religion, Barnes illuminates the way constructions of medicine, religion, race, and the body informed Westerners' understanding of the Chinese and their healing traditions.

 

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Review: Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing, and the West to 1848

User Review  - littlemiao - Goodreads

This meticulously researched book is an essential resource for anyone interested in European encounters with and interpretations of the healing systems of China, as they changed from the thirteenth ... Read full review

Review: Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing, and the West to 1848

User Review  - Suvi - Goodreads

Asian Studies Read full review

Contents

First Impressions Until 1491
8
A New Wave of Europeans 14921659
36
Model State Medical Men and Mechanick Principles 16601736
72
Sinophiles Sinophobes and the Cult of Chinoiserie 17371804
126
Memory History and Imagination 18051848
212
Conclusion
348
Notes
355
Abbreviations
369
Bibliography
374
Index
437
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Linda L. Barnes is Director of the Masters Program in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine. She holds a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at BUSM, and in the Division of Religious and Theological Studies at Boston University.

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