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Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, Healing, and the West to 1848

Barnes, Linda L.

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ISBN 10: 0674018729 / ISBN 13: 9780674018723
Published by Harvard University Press, 2005
Used Condition: Acceptable Hardcover
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Title: Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts: China, ...

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Acceptable

About this title


When did the West discover Chinese healing traditions? Most people might point to the "rediscovery" of Chinese acupuncture in the 1970s. In Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts, Linda Barnes leads us back, instead, to the thirteenth century to uncover the story of the West's earliest known encounters with Chinese understandings of illness and healing. As Westerners struggled to understand new peoples unfamiliar to them, how did they make sense of equally unfamiliar concepts and practices of healing? Barnes traces this story through the mid-nineteenth century, in both Europe and, eventually, the United States. She has unearthed numerous examples of Western missionaries, merchants, diplomats, and physicians in China, Europe, and America encountering and interpreting both Chinese people and their healing practices, and sometimes adopting their own versions of these practices.

A medical anthropologist with a degree in comparative religion, Barnes illuminates the way constructions of medicine, religion, race, and the body informed Westerners' understanding of the Chinese and their healing traditions.

From the Back Cover:

This monumental work weaves together erudite scholarship and enticing travelogue. Needles, Herbs, Gods, and Ghosts uncovers an entirely neglected story of how the West encountered China's religion, medicine, and healing practices. It challenges the reader to see how human beings encounter difference through the structure of their own thoughts and experiences. This informative, reflective, and path-breaking volume is indispensable for scholars in medicine, anthropology, history, religion, sinology, and ethnic studies. Also, because of Barnes's clear and lively writing style, this book is an enjoyable adventure for any curious reader. --Ted Kaptchuk, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and author of The Web that Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine

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