product description page
Neither Donkey nor Horse : Medicine in the Struggle over China's Modernity (Reprint) (Paperback) (Sean
about this item
Neither Donkey Nor Horse tells the story of how Chinese medicine was transformed from the antithesis of modernity in the early twentieth century into a potent symbol and vehicle for China’s struggle with it half a century later. Instead of viewing this transition as derivative of the political history of modern China, Sean Hsiang-lin Lei argues that China’s medical history had a life of its own and at times directly influenced the ideological struggle over the meaning of China’s modernity and the Chinese state. Far from being a remnant of China’s pre-modern past, Chinese medicine in the twentieth century co-evolved with Western medicine and the Nationalist state, undergoing a profound transformation?institutionally, epistemologically, and materially?that justifies our recognizing it as modern Chinese medicine. This new medicine was derided as ?neither donkey nor horse,” because it attempted to integrate modern Western medicine into what its opponents considered the ?pre-modern and un-scientific” practices of Chinese medicine. Its historic rise is of crucial importance for the general history of modernity in China, fundamentally challenging the conception of modernity that rejected the possibility of productive crossbreeding between the modern and the traditional. By exploring the co-production of modern Chinese medicine and China’s modernity, Lei offers both a political history of medicine and a medical history of the Chinese state. Neither Donkey Nor Horse synthesizes into a single historical narrative what was previously separated into three independent histories: the history of Western medicine in China, the history of Chinese medicine, and the political history of the state.