Medical care in nineteenth-century China was spectacularly pluralistic: herbalists, shamans, bone-setters, midwives, priests, and a few medical missionaries from the West all competed for patients. This book examines the dichotomy between “Western” and “Chinese” medicine, showing how it has been greatly exaggerated. As missionaries went to lengths to make their medicine more acceptable to Chinese patients, modernizers of Chinese medicine worked to become more “scientific” by eradicating superstition and creating modern institutions. Andrews challenges the supposed superiority of Western medicine in China while showing how “traditional” Chinese medicine was deliberately created in the image of a modern scientific practice.
Bridie Andrews is an associate professor of history at Bentley University and teaches history of medicine at the New England School of Acupuncture. She has co-edited two books, Western Medicine as Contested Knowledge (1997) and Medicine and Identity in the Colonies (2003).
[The Making of Modern Chinese Medicine, 1850–1960] present[s] a number of astute insights that promise to remain authoritative in the field for years to come … Andrews’s discussion of the advent of scientific acupuncture provides a sorely needed historical explanation for its contemporary survival and popularity.