Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia

Policies and Publics in the Long Twentieth Century

Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia

Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: 4 illustrations Published: January 2011

History > Asian History, Medicine and Health > Medical Humanities, Science and Technology Studies

This collection expands the history of colonial medicine and public health by exploring efforts to overcome disease and improve human health in Chinese regions of East Asia from the late nineteenth century to the present. The contributors consider the science and politics of public health policymaking and implementation in Taiwan, Manchuria, Hong Kong, and the Yangzi River delta, focusing mostly on towns and villages rather than cities. Whether discussing the resistance of lay midwives in colonial Taiwan to the Japanese campaign to replace them with experts in “scientific motherhood” or the reaction of British colonists in Shanghai to Chinese diet and health regimes, they illuminate the effects of foreign interventions and influences on particular situations and localities. They discuss responses to epidemics from the plague in early-twentieth-century Manchuria to SARS in southern China, Singapore, and Taiwan, but they also emphasize that public health is not just about epidemic crises. As essays on marsh drainage in Taiwan, the enforcement of sanitary ordinances in Shanghai, and vaccination drives in Manchuria show, throughout the twentieth century public health bureaucracies have primarily been engaged in the mundane activities of education, prevention, and monitoring.

Contributors. Warwick Anderson, Charlotte Furth, Marta E. Hanson, Sean Hsiang-lin Lei, Angela Ki Che Leung, Shang-Jen Li, Yushang Li, Yi-Ping Lin, Shiyung Liu, Ruth Rogaski, Yen-Fen Tseng, Chia-ling Wu, Xinzhong Yu


“[A] welcome addition to the historiography of medicine in East Asia. . . . The chapters of this volume, which critically explore in turn questions of the conceptual plasticity of Chinese medical terminologies, and the translational ambiguities surrounding the implementation of public health procedures, for example quarantine, address a broad academic readership including
medical anthropologists, historians of medicine, and cultural studies.” — Vivek Neelakantan, IIAS Newsletter

“The topics addressed in Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia will interest not only a specialized Sinological audience but also scholars working in science and technology studies (STS) and medical anthropology. . . . [A]n important contribution to ongoing debates about health, hygiene, and modernity in greater China during the long twentieth century.” — Stephen R. Halsey, History: Reviews of New Books

"The scholarship in it reflects a well-developed state of the field of the history of medicine and public health…. This volume is highly readable for students and scholars interested in the history of medicine and public health in East Asia." — Yaqin Li, Frontiers of History in China

“[T]his book provides many solid case studies to examine the intersections between governments, culture and science. Anyone interested in the history of Chinese medicine, colonial medicine and public health in East Asia will find it helpful.”
— Wen-Ching Sung, China Review

“This book should be of interest to scholars who want to see a more cosmopolitan approach to the history of medicine. . . . This book departs from earlier scholarship on public health in East Asia in two important aspects. First is the shift in focus to geographical regions that are far from the center of state power, such as Manchuria and the Pearl River delta, as well as the focus on the countryside rather than urban centers. Second, studying the embedded local practices and traditions and their interactions with international and transnational influences allow the authors to break out of the narrative based on imperialism or nation-building as the shaper of public health.” — Yüan-ling Chao, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

“This timely and diverse volume brings together exemplary scholarship on the history of colonial medicine and public health in China and Taiwan from the late nineteenth century to the present. . . . [T]his invaluable volume commands not only the attention of East Asianists, but all scholars interested in the global circulations of scientific knowledge, medical technologies, and practices of governance.” — Leon Antonio Rocha, Journal of Asian Studies

“This volume skillfully highlights the importance of a holistic view of medicine and an understanding of the ‘web of biological relationships’ between humans and the environment in managing and understanding disease and health (271).” — Tina Phillips, Johnson Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“This volume, edited by Angela Ki Che Leung and Charlotte Furth, exemplifies the diverse social science approaches at work in the study of medical/health history. The book offers a fascinating investigation of the health and hygiene developments in twentieth-century Chinese East Asia, with insightful findings.” — Liping Bu, Social History of Medicine

“This collection of essays brings together in one volume cutting-edge scholarship on the history of hygiene and public health in East Asia, from the tenth century to the twenty-first. It willed be welcomed not only by researchers on the history of medicine but also by those interested in topics as diverse as imperialism, demography, diet, and gender studies.” — Carol Benedict, author of Bubonic Plague in Nineteenth-Century China

“This imaginatively conceived volume sets the agenda for an entirely new history of public health. Moving deftly between the local and the global, Health and Hygiene in Chinese East Asia demonstrates that public health is best understood as a series of relationships rather than as a closed project in nation- or empire-building. As the contributors to this fine book show, there was more than one ‘China’ and certainly more than one ‘public health.’” — Mark Harrison, University of Oxford


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Angela Ki Che Leung is Director of the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, and Adjunct Research Fellow with the Institute of History and Philology at the Academia Sinica in Taipei. She is the author of Leprosy in China: A History. Charlotte Furth is Professor of History Emerita at the University of Southern California. She is the author of A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China’s Medical History, 960–1665.

Charlotte Furth is Professor of History Emerita at the University of Southern California. She is the author of A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China’s Medical History, 960–1665.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: Hygienic Modernity in Chinese East Asia / Charlotte Furth 1
Part I. Tradition and Transition
The Evolution of the Idea of Chuanran Contagion in Imperial China / Angela Ki Che Leung 25
The Treatment of Night Soil and Waste in Modern China / Yu Zinzhong 51
Sovereignty and the Microscope: Constituting Notifiable Infectious Disease and Containing the Manchurian Plague (1910–11) / Sean Hsiang-lin Lei 73
Part II. Colonial Health and Hygiene
Eating Well in China: Diet and Hygiene in Nineteenth-Century Treaty Ports / Shang-Jen Li 109
Vampires in Plagueland: The Multiple Meanings of Weisheng in Manchuria / Ruth Rogaski 132
Have Someone Cut the Umbilical Cord: Women's Birthing Networks, Knowledge, and Skills in Colonial Taiwan / Wu Chia-Ling 160
Part III. Campaigns for Epidemic Control
A Forgotten War: Malaria Eradication in Taiwan, 1905–65 / Lin Yi-ping and Liu Shiyung 183
The Elimination of Schistosomiasis in Jiaxing and Haining Counties, 1948–58: Public Health as Political Movement / Li Yushang 204
Conceptual Blind Spots, Media Blindfolds: The Case of SARS and Traditional Chines Medicine / Marta E. Hanson 228
Governing Germs from Outside and Within Borders: Controlling 2003 SARS Risk in Taiwan / Tseng Yen-fen and Wu Chia-Ling 255
Afterword: Biomedicine in Chinese East Asia: From Semicolonial to Postcolonial? / Warwick Anderson 273
Timeline 279
Glossary 283
Bibliography 287
Contributors 323
Index 327
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4826-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4815-3
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