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Department of History and Philosophy of Science


Thursday 26 January 2023, 4.00–5.30pm
Seminar Room 2, Department of History and Philosophy of Science

He Bian (Princeton University)

Live, and let live: medical recipes and technique of the socialized self across the Ming-Qing transition

Medical recipes (fang) have featured centrally in the 'art of living' popular among the educated elite during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Previous literature has highlighted the lavish attention to material objects and luxury goods among late Ming literati as result from the rise of global trade and money economy, seeing the popularity of expensive remedies as integral to the monetization of literati subjectivity. In this talk, I argue that the spectre of social welfare has always haunted the self-centered discourse of the Chinese art of living, even during an era when the imperial government abandoned earlier efforts to regulate medical practice. Through a closer look at how medical recipes were collected, transmitted, and published throughout the seventeenth century across the tumultuous dynastic transition, I trace the re-emergence of sociality in medical discourses as expressed through the phrase 'longevity for the world' (shoushi).

Workshop led by Professor He Bian

Polymathic aura lost: medical encounters in Xu Dachun's casebook

Thursday 26 January 2023, 2.00–3.30pm, Seminar Room 1


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