Chapter 1 introduces the central puzzle of the book: How was Chinese medicine transformed from an antithesis of modernity in the early twentieth century into a potent symbol for China’s exploration of its own modernity half a century later? To answer this question, this book strives to go beyond the conventional framework of dual history, that is, a clear-cut separation between the modern history of Chinese medicine and that of Western medicine in China. Far from being a “remnant” of pre-modern China, Chinese medicine co-evolved with Western medicine and the Nationalist state, undergoing a profound transformation that qualified it to be recognized as modern Chinese Medicine. While this newly created modern Chinese medicine was stigmatized by its opponents as a mongrel form of medicine that was “neither donkey nor horse” it helped to shape the notion of modernity that came to be historically realized in China, that is, China’s modernity.
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