UCI Center for Asian Studies
Chinese Medicine in an American Heartland
Wednesday · May 18, 2022 · 4:00-5:30 pm (PDT)
UCI Humanities Gateway 1030
Followed by a reception
This talk explores the terrain of “Oriental Medicine” in a quintessentially American town: Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Grand Ole Opry and a birthplace of country music. The research excavates the origins of acupuncture in Tennessee and traces the personal journeys of practitioners who came to the American South from around the world. By seeing Chinese medicine embedded within this specific locale, we reveal the profound difficulty of finding “China” within the complex culture of American wellness.
Departments of History and Asian Studies
Ruth Rogaski specializes in the history of science, medicine, and the environment in China. She is the author of Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China (University of California Press, 2004), which traces how hygiene became a crucial element in the formulation of Chinese modernity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Hygienic Modernity was awarded the Fairbank Prize in East Asian history, the Levenson Prize in Chinese studies, the Welch Medal in the history of medicine, and was co-recipient of the Berkshire Prize. She is also the author of Knowing Manchuria: Environments, the Senses, and Natural Knowledge on an Asian Borderland (University of Chicago Press, 2022), which explores how diverse observers created knowledge about northeast Asia’s multiple environments from the seventeenth century to the present. Grants and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes for Health have funded her research and writing. She is currently writing a book on the practice of traditional Chinese medicine in the American South, focusing on her home city of Nashville, Tennessee.