Chinese Bodies: Medicine, Health, Sex, and Gender

History 117D

Fall 2018
Section: 
1
Instructor: 
Location: 
60 Barrows
Day & Time: 
Tue/Thu 12:30–2pm
Class Number: 
31140
Units: 
4

This thematic course examines notions of the "Chinese body" as they develop over three main time periods: the early empires (4th c. BCE- 4th c. CE), late imperial China, and China today. As its title indicates, the course focuses on four main perspectives that mutually inform each other: (1) gender constructions; (2) understandings of sexual activity; (3) definitions of good health and well-being; and (4) the healing and medical arts. Contrary to the Orientalist stereotypes of "unchanging China," notions of the body and hence the person have changed dramatically over the course of two millennia — so much so that older practices have little in common with contemporary qi gong 氣功 ("breath work") or the so-called TCM ("Traditional Chinese Medicine").