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Medical Philology in the "Second Rome": Ancient Learning & Attack on "Traditional Chinese Medicine"

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Uploaded on Jun 7, 2011

The 2011 Edwin O. Reischauer Lectures

Undoing/Redoing Modern Sino-Japanese Cultural and Intellectual History, Benjamin A. Elman, Princeton University

From Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies watch Elman reintegrate the history of "traditional Chinese medicine" with other themes associated with the intellectual history of classical learning in East Asia from 1600 to 1800 mentioned in the second lecture. This was a time when classical learning enabled rising social statuses for the classically literate. Normally these fields are studied separately as "Confucianism" (儒學) or "medicine" (醫學), with little effort to integrate them thematically in light of the history of ideas or according to the cultural geography of classical learning in East Asia. Doctors, mathematicians, and philologists shared the same classical texts known in East Asia as the Confucian "classics," mathematical "classics," and medical "classics." Physicians and mathematicians throughout East Asia were as classically literate as Mandarin scholar-officials who passed civil examinations. In the late eighteenth century, in particular, Japanese scholars and physicians interested in Chinese classical studies adapted Chinese philological research techniques of paleography, etymology, and phonology. Why did newly emerging Japanese elites prioritize classical Chinese as a language of learning and focus on Chinese medical texts for medical studies? Why did "medical philology" in Japan produce a divisive cleavage between Sinophobes and Sinophiles, and what was at stake?

Discussant: Federico Marcon, Assistant Professor of Japanese History, University of Virginia

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