Blood, Phlegm, Bile, and Qi: Bodily Fluids in Chinese and European Medicine

Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU

3:00pm–5:00pm Sunday 17 December

Auditorium, China in the World Bldg #188 Fellows Lane, ANU

Registration required:

No matter whether we deal with academic or popular discourse, Chinese medicine is usually described as ‘energetic medicine’ that cures mysteriously, through manipulating flows of energy, balancing yin and yang and regulating abstract macrocosmic correspondence. This then is often juxtaposed with material concerns of European medicine. Yet, when we take a closer look at a Chinese doctor’s practice, we quickly discover that her everyday work revolves around the manipulation of fluids, which she achieves mostly through drugs. Both fluids and drugs are quite real — and sometimes even gross — in their materiality. This invites us to confront our presuppositions about both Chinese and European medicine, and to compare the two traditions on equal grounds, as fluid-based, humoral traditions of healing.

This public lecture consists of five presentations:

  • Bodily Fluids and the History of Chinese Medicine

Speaker: Shigehisa Kuriyama, Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History,  Harvard University

  • Bodily Fluids and the Anthropology of Chinese Drugs

Speaker: Lena Springer, Research Associate, Charité Medical University Berlin

  • Bodily Fluids in the Practice of Chinese Medicine

Speaker: Steven Clavey Registered Practitioner of Chinese medicine, Melbourne

  • Bodily Fluids in Art

Speaker: Nina Sellars, SymbioticA Artist in Residence, University of Western Australia

  • Fluid and Flow: the Art of Liquid Control

Speaker: Brooke Holmes Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Princeton University

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