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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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Research Design as Political Strategy:

Research Design as Political Strategy:

The Birth of the New Antimalaria Drug Changshan

(p.193) 9 Research Design as Political Strategy
Neither Donkey nor Horse

Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 9 focuses on the discovery of an anti-malarial drug from the Chinese herb changshan (Dichroa root) in the 1940s. While this research was celebrated as the second most important achievement for the popular program of “scientific research on nationally produced drugs” during the Republican period, it constitutes a salient anomaly for this program. It was only because participating researchers violated some key procedures in their research protocol that they were able to demonstrate the anti-malarial efficacy of changshan as quickly and efficiently as they did. By highlighting the crucial—but so far neglected—role of research design in shaping the modern history of Chinese medicine, the case of changshan reveals the political role played by this research program in re-inscribing and negotiating in practice the modernist Great Divide between Chinese medicine and Western medicine/science. To highlight the theoretical implications of this case study, this chapter carries the thematic title “Research Design as Political Strategy.”

Keywords:   scientific research on nationally produced drugs, changshan, Dichroa root, Chinese drug, malaria, research design, Great Divide, research protocol

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