Judith Farquhar on Integrating Alternative Medicine: Recent Chinese Experience

6:30–9:00 pm


The People’s Republic of China has been a world leader in the successful inclusion of East Asian traditional medicine in the national public health system. Biomedical criticisms notwithstanding, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has found an important and official niche in China’s health services. Now, newly recognized traditional medicines are proliferating in China.  This lecture reported on recent efforts to develop minority nationality medicines, and consider the implications for “integrated” (or disintegrating?) Chinese health care.

Judith Farquhar (PhD, U Chicago 1986) is the Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College.  She does research on traditional medicine, popular culture, and everyday life in contemporary China. Anthropological areas of interest include medical anthropology; the anthropology of knowledge and of embodiment; critical theory and cultural studies; and theories of reading, writing, and translation.  Farquhar is the author of Knowing Practice: The Clinical Encounter of Chinese Medicine (1994) as well as Appetites: Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China (2002) and  Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing (with Qicheng Zhang, 2012).

(Photos by Yuxuan Li)