CCHH: China Centre For Health And Humanity


Chinese Medicine, an Open Empire? Book Launch and Mini Conference

7 November 2022

This hybrid event celebrates a new extensive guide to the nature of traditional medicine and healing in the Chinese cultural region.

Chinese doctors


Wednesday 23 November 2022, 2.00–6.00pm (UK Time)


IAS Forum, G17, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, UCL

and online




This event is free but registration is required:

About this event

In the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine, edited by Vivienne Lo and Michael Stanley-Baker with Dolly Yang, established experts and the next generation of scholars interpret the ways in which Chinese medicine has been understood and portrayed from the beginning of the empire (third century BCE) to the globalisation of Chinese products and practices in the present day, taking in subjects from ancient medical writings to therapeutic movement, to talismans for healing and traditional medicines that have inspired global solutions to contemporary epidemics.

For Open Access to the volume, click here.

This is a joint event with History at the School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.




Vivienne Lo and Michael Stanley-Baker
Andrew Leach on behalf of the Routledge Handbook Series

Hi Speed Conference (each presentation will be 5 minutes long and subject to change! For the most up-to-date programme, please click here.)


  • Longue Durée and formation of institutions and traditions

1. Yin, yang, and five agents (wuxing) in the Basic Questions and early Han (202 BCE–220 CE)
     medical manuscripts

     Chen Yun-Ju

2. Qi : a means for cohering natural knowledge
     Michael Stanley-Baker

     Categories of qi in the Inner Canon
     Jiang Shan

3. Re-envisioning Chinese medicine: the view from archaeology
     Vivienne Lo and Gu Man

4. The importance of numerology, state ritual and medicine
     Deborah Woolf

5. Therapeutic exercise in the medical practice of Sui China (581–618 CE)
     Dolly Yang

6. The canonicity of the Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic
     Stephen Boyanton



  • Body and Disease

7. Pre-standardised Pharmacology: Han through Song
     Asaf Goldschmidt

8. Gynaecology and obstetrics from antiquity to the early twenty-first century
     Yi-Li Wu

9. Anatomy and surgery
     Li Jianmin, presented by Dolly Yang

10. Late imperial epidemiology
     Marta Hanson


  • In Memoriam

11. Volker Scheid to speak about Chip Chace

12. John Moffett to speak about Tony Butler

 –– 3.20pm, TEA BREAK ––


  • Food and sex

13. What not to eat – how not to treat: medical prohibitions
     Vivienne Lo and Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira

14. The question of sex and modernity in China
     Leon A. Rocha

  • Spiritual and orthodox religious practices

15. Daoist sexual practices for health and immortality for women
     Elena Valussi

16. Numinous herbs: stars, spirits and medicinal plants in Late Imperial China
     Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira

  • Sinographic medicine and wider diasporas

17. Vietnam in the pre-modern period
     Leslie de Vries

18. Entangled worlds: traditional Chinese medicine in the United States
     Mei Zhan

  • Negotiating modernity

19.The Declaration of Alma Ata and the global adoption of a ‘Maoist’ model for
     universal healthcare

     Paul Kadetz

20. Decontextualised Chinese medicines: their uses as health foods and medicines
     in the ‘global North’
     Michael Heinrich, Ka Yui Kum and Ruyu Yao


Roundtable: Chinese Medicine as Open Empire


Presenter Bios

Stephen Boyanton received his PhD in East Asian history from Columbia University, with a dissertation on ‘The Treatise on Cold Damage and the Formation of Literati Medicine: Social, Epidemiological, and Medical Change in China, 1000–1400’. He currently works as an independent scholar and translator in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Chen Yun-Ju 陳韻如 is an historian of Middle Imperial China, currently an Assistant Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. Her research focuses on the emergence of authorities in knowledge and knowledge practices in pre-modern China, especially with regard to medicine between the ninth and thirteenth centuries.

Leslie de Vries is a Lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Kent. He received his PhD in Oriental Languages and Cultures from Ghent University. Previously, he was also a Research Fellow of the ‘Beyond Traditions’ project at the University of Westminster. His research focuses on the history of medicine and religion in China, Vietnam and Japan.

Asaf Goldschmidt is an historian, who received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a Professor of East Asian Studies at Tel Aviv University. His main research interests are the history of Chinese medicine and science, the Song dynasty and public health, drug trade and consumption, and medical practice. His current projects focus on the history of the Imperial Pharmacy in China and on medical case records.

Gu Man 顧漫 is Director of the Department of Chinese Medical Literature, China In-stitute for the History of Medicine and Medical Literature, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Fudan University (2008–2010). His major research concerns the collation and digitisation of ancient Chinese medical manuscripts written on bamboo slips or silk. He is widely published on the concepts and techniques of acupuncture and the construction of classical Chinese medicine as revealed in the Tian Hui Laoguanshan manuscripts.

Marta Hanson is Associate Professor of the History of Chinese Science and Medicine at the Department of the History of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University. She has published widely on the history of epidemics, disease, and public health in China; disease maps in East Asia; Chinese arts of memory; the healer’s body in Chinese medicine; and Sino-European cross-cultural medical history.

Michael Heinrich is Professor of Ethnopharmacology and Medicinal Plant Research (Pharmacognosy) and was previously the head of the research cluster ‘Biodiversity and Medicines’ at the UCL School of Pharmacy. His main research focuses on anti-inflammatory agents, the safety of herbal medicines and modern ethnopharmacological approaches, including value chains of medicinal plants (especially from Asian countries).

Jiang Shan 姜姗 is a post-doctoral researcher from the School of Medical Humanities, Peking University. Her research interests include the premodern theory of acu-moxa and the history of Sino-Japanese medical and cultural exchange. She received her PhD in the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, with a dissertation titled ‘A Study of Qi in Classical Acupuncture-Moxibustion Theory’. Part of the work of Jiang’s qi research was published in the book Needling and Qi: Discovering Qi in Ancient Acumoxa Classics (2018).

Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira 林友樂 earned his master’s degree in Chinese History at Fudan University and is currently a PhD candidate in History at University College London. Sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, his research explores the impact of transnational spiritualism and psychical research on China’s healthcare market during the first half of the twentieth century.

Paul Kadetz is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Global Health and Development at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, and a Professor of Practice in the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering at The University of San Diego. He is also an Honorary Fellow in the China Centre for Health and Humanity, UCL. Paul completed his doctorate in Development Studies at the University of Oxford and works at the intersections of global health, international development, and critical medical anthropology. Recent publications include The Handbook of Welfare in China (2017), Creating Katrina, Rebuilding Resilience (2018), and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Health Humanities (joint editor-in-chief).

Ka Yui Kum specialises in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) metabolomics for herbal quality assessment and received his doctorate from the UCL School of Pharmacy in 2020. He is also a successful public engagement organiser with funding from the Royal Society of Biology and UCL.

Andrew Leach is the Editorial Assistant for Asian Studies, Routledge, Taylor Francis Group. He was responsible for overseeing production of our Routledge Handbook for Chinese Medicine.

Li Jianmin 李建民 is a Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. He also teaches at several universities in Taiwan. His specialty is the history of Chinese medicine and of health and healing in ancient China. He is the author of numerous books and articles on medicine and culture in ancient China, and recently The Vulnerable Surgeons and the Fading of Surgery in the History of Sinitic Medicine (2018).

Vivienne Lo 羅維前 is Professor of Chinese History at University College London. She has published widely on the ancient and medieval history of medicine in China and in diaspora. Her research interests include medical manuscripts, medical imagery and the history of nutrition.

John Moffett is the Chief Librarian at the Needham Research Institute, Cambridge.

Leon Antonio Rocha works at the Bargaining, Organising, Campaigns and Education Department, University and College Union (UCU). He received his PhD in history and philosophy of science and medicine from University of Cambridge, and has taught at Yale University, University of Liverpool, and University of Lincoln.

Volker Scheid is Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster and Affiliate Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. He was previously Professor of East Asian Medicines and Director of EASTmedicine (East Asian Sciences and Traditions in Medicine), an interdisciplinary research group that explored the historical development of East Asian medicines and their translation into modern use contexts. Prof. Scheid has published widely well-known works on the history of Chinese medicine in the late imperial and modern eras.

Michael Stanley-Baker 徐源 is Assistant Professor in History at the School of Humanities, and of Medical Humanities at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. An historian of Chinese medicine and religion, particularly Daoism, he works on the early imperial period as well as contemporary Sinophone communities. Currently completing a monograph on medicine and religion as related genres of practice in China, he also produces digital humanities tools and datasets to study the migration of medicine across spatio-temporal, intellectual and linguistic boundaries. He is the editor of Situating Medicine and Religion In Asia: Methodological Insights and Innovations forthcoming next year.

Elena Valussi is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department at Loyola University, Chicago. She has published several articles on the intersection of gender, religion and body practices in Late Imperial China and modern Daoism. Her more recent work focuses on Daoist intellectual history, printing, gender and religion in the late Qing and Republican periods. She is currently co-editing a book on spirit-writing techniques in Chinese History. She is the Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions.

Deborah Woolf is an historian and researcher on Chinese Medicine. A practising acupuncturist, she has over twenty years’ experience in teaching Chinese Medicine and Philosophy. She has an MA in Chinese Health and Humanities and is currently a PhD candidate in history at University College London. She is particularly interested in divination, hemerology, iatromancy and the more esoteric practices embedded in Chinese medical thought.

Yi-Li Wu is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and of History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research on the history of Chinese medicine focuses on the multiple intersections of society, culture, gender, and the body in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Her publications include Reproducing Women: Medicine, metaphor, and childbirth in late imperial China (University of California Press, 2010) and articles on medical illustration, breast cancer, forensic medicine, bone setting, Sino-Korean medicine, and Chinese views on Western anatomical science.

Dolly Yang 楊德秀 is a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She received a PhD in 2018 from University College London for her investigation into the institutionalisation of therapeutic exercise in Sui China (581–618 CE). She has a particular interest in examining the use of non-drug-based therapy in early medieval China, allied to a passion for translating and analysing ancient Chinese medical and self-cultivation texts.

Ruyu Yao 姚入宇 is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China. In 2018 he obtained his Ph.D. degree at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, with a study on the traditional uses, quality assessment and value chain analysis of goji.

Mei Zhan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Other-Worldly: Making Chinese medicine through transnational frames (2009). Her current ethnographic project examines how the invention of a new ‘classical medicine’ in entrepreneurial China strives to ‘bring medicine back to life’.