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The Australian National University

Event details

CIW Public Lecture

Drugs, needles, blood, and qi: a symposium on Chinese medicine

Shigehisa Kuriyama, Lena Springer and Steven Clavey

3:00pm - 5:00pm
17 Dec 2017
The Auditorium, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

We invite you to an afternoon of thinking about Chinese medicine. We will pay particular attention to fluids: the role of bodily fluids in the history of Chinese medicine and the constitution of the body; the role of fluids in the manufacture of drugs and their healing action on the body; and to the role of fluid manipulation in the clinic.

Bodily fluids and the history of Chinese medicine

Shigehisa Kuriyama, Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History at Harvard University

I propose in my lecture to spotlight fluids in traditional Chinese medicine. My goals are twofold. I hope to show, on the one hand, how focusing on fluids opens us new perspectives on the history of the Chinese body, and suggests a host of fresh and fascinating lines of inquiry. At the same time, and conversely, I hope to show how the study of fluids in Chinese medicine compels us to reexamine longstanding tacit assumptions, and to ask anew: 'What exactly do we mean by a bodily fluid?'

Shigehisa Kuriyama is Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History at Harvard University. His monograph, The expressiveness of the body and the divergence of Greek and Chinese medicine received the William Welch Medal in 2001, and has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Greek. His recent research includes articles on humoralism in Europe and in Japan, hiddenness in Chinese medicine, and the historical connections between ginseng to tea, opium, and MSG.

Bodily fluids and the anthropology of Chinese drugs

Lena Springer, Research Associate at Charité Berlin, Horst Görtz Stiftungsinstitut for the Theory, History, and Ethics of Chinese Life Sciences

This lecture will probe the connection of drugs and bodily fluids. Based on field- and archival work in China, Lena Springer illustrates the process in which manufacturers extract dry or liquid drugs from plants and animals and how – in the final stage – these drugs transform patients' bodily fluids. Thus, we may grasp what the healing materials are, in the course of production and in relation to the human body. The dry and lifeless condition of drugs is transformed through their interaction with fluids of living organisms.

Lena Springer works on the transmission of medical heritage in regions of China, focussing on re-written materia medica archives and based on her fieldwork on material culture. She is has just finished a Jing Brand fellowship at the Needham Research Institute in Cambridge and is a Research Associate at Charité Berlin, Horst Görtz Stiftungsinstitut for the Theory, History, and Ethics of Chinese Life Sciences.

She is also affiliated with the University of Westminster’s EASTmedicine research group in London.

Bodily fluids in the practice of Chinese medicine

Steven Clavey, registered practitioner of Chinese medicine, Melbourne

In this lecture Steven Clavey will be discussing several symptoms, such as palpitations, vertigo and hot flushes, in which certain patterns of aetiology can be attributed to fluid pathology by Chinese medicine, and how they are treated by restoring fluid metabolism to normal functioning.

Steven Clavey studied classical Chinese language and Chinese medicine in Taiwan from 1977 to 1981, with two years of further study in mainland China in 1983 and 1986. Since 1986 Steve has practiced Chinese herbal medicine in Melbourne Australia.
Steve is the author of Fluid Physiology and Pathology in Traditional Chinese Medicine and co-author with Dan Bensky and Erich Stöger of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. He also is an editor on The Lantern, a hardcopy journal of Chinese medicine published in Australia.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

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