This seminar covers the history of acupuncture in late imperial and particularly contemporary China. It introduces students to the basic conceptual vocabulary and major approaches to the subject. The course falls into four parts, each of which will emphasize different aspects of this rich and complex subject matter:
- the basic conceptual vocabulary of acupuncture;
- the historical roots and cultural background of acupuncture during the classical period (206 BCE-220 CE);
- the historical transformations of acupuncture in middle-period and early-modern China (9th century to 18th century);
- and the development of acupuncture in modern and contemporary China.
Three broad themes will emerge from our readings and discussions: first, the dynamic, rather than fixed, nature of acupuncture; second, the role of social and political forces in shaping the content of acupuncture theory; and third, the impact of Western science in discrediting, legitimating, and transforming acupuncture in recent years.
All are welcome; no prior knowledge of Chinese medicine, Chinese language, or Chinese history required.
Two 10-minute presentations on the reading assignments, preferably in PowerPoint (30%). Two 6-8-page papers (each 30%). Active participation (10%).