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Neither Donkey nor HorseMedicine in the Struggle over China's Modernity$
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Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226169880

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226169910.001.0001

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Conclusion:

Conclusion:

Thinking with Modern Chinese Medicine

Chapter:
(p.259) 11 Conclusion
Source:
Neither Donkey nor Horse
Author(s):

Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226169910.003.0011

To explore the general implications suggested by the early history of modern Chinese medicine presented in the previous chapters, Chapter 11 recasts these historical findings as a heuristic tool for reflecting on a series of ever-expanding issues: (1) the relationship between medicine and the state, (2) the (im)possibility of productive cross-breeding between Chinese medicine and biomedicine, (3) the notion of “China’s modernity,” and finally (4) the “Great Divide” between modern and pre-modern, as analyzed by Bruno Latour. Against the discourse of a “Great Divide,” this newly re-assembled modern Chinese medicine took the discourse of modernity (and related knowledge of biomedicine) seriously and yet managed to survived the resulting epistemic violence by way of negotiation and self-innovation. In this sense, the historic rise of this “neither donkey nor horse” medicine constitutes a local innovation of crucial importance for the notion of China’s modernity, challenging us to imagine different kinds of relationships between science and non-Western knowledge traditions.

Keywords:   Modern Chinese medicine, China’s modernity, Great Divide, Bruno Latour, science as modernity, state and medicine, hybridity

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