Pathographies or stories of sickness are personal narratives that describe experiences of illness, treatment, and sometimes death. They offer the opportunity to understand and analyse the impact of socio-cultural factors (age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, etc) on conceptions of health and sickness.
Shows how societies have changed in their approach to health, sickness and disease from ancient times to the present. Our cluster specialises in the Asian contexts of medicine with research projects on the Silk Road, the spread of medicine in China, and hospitals in South Korea.
Doctors, Daoists and Demons: Situating Medicine and Religion in Early Imperial China
Endemic Diseases and Their Perception- Cultural Anthropology of Illnesses in Alor Island
Francesco Perono Cacciafoco
Healing Plants and Their Cultural Meaning: An Intangible Heritage between Linguistics and History of Medicine
Francesco Perono Cacciafoco
We are intensively cooperating with the University of Hawaii at Manoa (A.L. Blake) and with the Palacky University at Olomuc, Czech Republic (Frantisek Kratochvil), sharing data, double-checking them, including fieldwork reports, expanding considerably the database, and aiming at including new Papuan languages of the Alor-Pantar language family and archipelago, like Sawila.
Lim, Tyan Gin Shaun, and Perono Cacciafoco, Francesco. [December 2020]. Plants and Place Names: A Case Study of Abui Toponymy. Review of Historical Geography and Toponomastics, 15, 29-30.
Further details: https://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/abui/
Machine Learning for Diabetes Management
Ivy Yeh Hui-Yuan
Medical Artificial Intelligence
- Michael Stanley-Baker (Principal Investigator)
- Faizah binte Zakaria (Co-investigator)
- Francesco Perono Cacciafoco
Medicines circulate across languages, regions and communities, forming cultural bridges and revealing how materials and knowledge circulate. What can the study of medicine teach us about cultural exchange, identity-formation and the transmission of knowledge?
This project, funded by the National Heritage Board of Singapore, will build foundational digital tools to enable the cross-cultural study of the history of medicine in maritime Southeast Asia. These consist of a searchable digital text repository and digital drug term synonymy which will help identify and track medicinal products across different languages. Using these tools, we will compare the use of medical materials across three languages: Malay, Chinese and Abui. We will develop a repository of digitized and searchable Malay medical manuscripts, Chinese late imperial medical works and local Peranakan family manuscripts. We will also bring the past into dialogue with the traditions of the present, by hosting oral interviews about the use of medicinal products among Malay, Chinese and Abui speaking communities. This project will also allow scholars to publish further ethnobotanical data, and incorporate it into a comparative framework.
The digital synonymy will enable us to correlate terms across the three languages, and bring historical and contemporary texts into correlation, allowing us to study the degree to which traditional medicines – long considered to be culturally and linguistically enclosed– were built from a history of contact, borrowings and adaptation. We refer to these fluid modalities of healing as “polyglot medicine” and tentatively argue that being polyglot is a hallmark of medical traditions among the diverse communities living in maritime Southeast Asia.
Image Credit: Lin Henghan –Huayü tonghua 华夷通, 1883
Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine
Edited by Michael Stanley-Baker (NTU), Vivienne Lo (University College, London)
This handbook aims to showcase the latest research on medicine in China as it has developed over 3,000 years. It will identify themes concerned with both history and culture and the significance of Chinese medicine in the modern world, and invite established experts together with some of the most exciting and innovative younger researchers to respond. China will be understood as an open empire,receptive to all the in-coming influences of religion, materia medica and dietetica , and techniques that have shaped its healing traditions; and also exerting influence through the land, maritime, air and cyber networks that have connected it with other places. To avoid the pitfalls of representing Chinese medicine as a monolithic tradition, detailed attention will be paid to the social and cultural contexts within which a classical medicine emerged, as well as to the realities of everyday practice, to the extent that they can be known. The themes of the book will be traced historically through the healing traditions of Early China, medieval religious institutions, the transmission of knowledge and practice through ritual, writing and authority and the impact of the printing technologies of early modern China. The Ming period, in particular, provides a wealth of exquisitely illustrated medical works which demonstrate the eclectic healing environment. The Handbook will end with two sections on the significance of Chinese medicine in the modern world addressing issues of evidence and, most significantly, an analysis of the global impact of everyday Chinese attitudes to health. It will draw out the complex and paradoxical role of Chinese medicine in the construction of modern Chinese nation as well as its adoption as a strategy of resistance to the perception of an all powerful biomedicine in the Euro-American sphere.
Spaces of Biomedicine in East Asia
Laboratory studies has been a critical aspect of science & technology studies and anthropology of science since the publication of Latour and Woolgar’s Laboratory Life (1979). This project is a multi-sited ethnography of labs and other biomedical spaces in Southeast and East Asia, but attempts to push laboratory studies in some new (methodological) directions.
First, it draws on the field of performance studies as a resource for understanding scientific life and its various enactments. This project is based on a collaboration with performance studies scholar Eddie Paterson (University of Melbourne). Using concepts such as “dramaturgy” as well as paying attention to “theatrical” elements in science, such as costume and movement, we hope to add new dimensions to the understanding of lives in (and around) laboratories.
Second, and as part of this attention to the broader context in which science takes place, this project is especially interested in the urban settings within which laboratories exist. What is the relationship between labs and geographic spaces around them? How do they influence cities socially and culturally? How does this affect the science that goes on inside them? Here we hope to bring laboratory studies into dialogue with urban studies.
We conducted fieldwork in Singapore and at BGI in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. A short piece we wrote about BGI was published in the Life Sciences Foundation Magazine Winter 2015 issue. A longer piece about BGI was published here.
This project was sponsored by a Tier 1 grant from the Ministry of Education, Singapore.