1/17 Yuanxie Shi @ APEA

Yuanxie Shi

PhD Student, EALC

Divination for “Alternative” Healing:

A Preliminary Study on Divination Medicine in the Long Twentieth Century China

Time: Friday, January 17, 3-5 pm
Location: Center for East Asian Studies 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)
Discussant: H.S. Sum Cheuk Shing (PhD Student, EALC)
On January 17, The Arts and Politics of East Asia (APEA) workshop is proud to host Yuanxie Shi (Ph.D. Student, EALC), who will present her paper “Divination for ‘Alternative’ Healing: A Preliminary Study on Divination Medicine in the Long Twentieth Century China.” She summarizes her paper as follows:

“This paper examines the practice of yaoqian or divination medicine based on a close reading and comparison of the woodblocks collected from Hunan Province and Suzhou in Jiangsu Province during the long twentieth century.

Though the divination for healing is regarded as a popular religion similar to demonic divination or divining for family affairs, I would argue that yaoqian in my sample is distinct in its content. A discovery of possible sources of medical knowledge reveals how vernacular healing tried to incorporate the popular medicinal knowledge into its business and how minor schools of medicine together with vernacular practices have been overlooked and excluded from what is nowadays known as the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Though TCM has been regarded as the orthodox and prior way of medical practice, for people in rural China throughout the long twentieth century or even earlier, due to various possible reasons (e.g. inaccessibility to doctors or modern Western medicine, efficacy of any healing methods), what methods they would choose to use in their everyday practice questions what we might perceive as the priority and the alternative. For many Chinese, all means serve the same end. The paper implies that there is no absolute priority or alternative: multiple methods of healing coexisted in China. ”

Refreshments will be provided. We look forward to seeing you at the workshop.

Jiayi Chen and Sabine Schulz
Co-coordinators, Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop


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