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Thinking Chinese 思華 . 華思

Conference and exhibition, jointly convened by UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity and Ming-Ai (London) Institute in Spring 2015. Podcasts and documents now online!

Isabella Bird (1831–1904): Photographic travels in China

Wednesday 4 November, 5.15pm, Rockefeller 339.
A talk on intrepid travel photographer Isabella Bird and her voyages in late 19th-century China, by travel writer and former Royal Photographic Society curator Deborah Ireland. More...

Medical Humanities in China – conference

An international interdisciplinary conference at Peking University Institute for Medical Humanities, 15-17th October, 2015, jointly convened by UCL and PKU

A unique opportunity to learn Chinese Sign Language at UCL!

学中国手语!Short intensive introductory immersion course spread over 6 days, 13–24 July More...

Hot and Numb! 2000 years of Sichuan pepper

Saturday 13th June, 12.00 midday, The Spice Exchange, Kew Gardens. As part of the Kew Full of Spice Festival 2015, Vivienne Lo (UCL CCHH) will give a presentation on the history of Sichuan pepper, its medical and culinary uses. More...

Film and Discussion: When China Met Africa

Wednesday 20 May, 6.30pm, Roberts 106, UCL. FREE – part of UCL Festival of the Arts 2015. Book via Eventbrite.

Lady Precious Stream

A symposium on S. I. Hsiung's 1934 play, and the obstacles to and opportunities for East Asian voices in UK theatre and literature. Monday 18 May, 6.30–8pm, Anatomy JZ Young LT.

Call for Chinese-speaking choral singers!

London Chinese Philharmonic Choir 伦敦华人爱乐合唱团 (LCPC) is looking for additional singers to perform the Yellow River Cantata 黄河大合唱 in September/October 2015. More...

David Dear

Self-cultivation and the formation of identity in Early Modern China

My research concerns the transmission and adoption of forms of Self-Cultivation and lifestyle regimen (YangSheng) in Ming and Qing China. The field of YangSheng and its conscious self cultivation is located at the nexus of the worlds of medicine, religion and ordinary daily life where individuals seek to negotiate their inner lives with the outer world of shared common reality. YangSheng activities range from choral singing and calligraphy to medicinal foods, meditation and martial arts. Anything, in short, which makes the practitioner feel better.  David Dear.jpg

Though functioning at many different level of intention, the concepts which underpin this, most notably the idea of the manipulation Qi, are widely accepted in China as given reality. But at the same time the practice is and always has been continuously reframed by a particular hegemonic discourse. Currently this largely revolves around the nature of "traditional Chinese culture" and just what it means to be Chinese.

My study is an inquiry into the reasons for the adoption of practice, the methods adopted, their adaptation from historical sources and the conditions which permit or hinder this, and the outcomes in terms of the effects on the individual's health, well-being, self image and on-going relationship with society at large. Particular areas of interest at the moment are the information contained in novels, stories and lifestyle guides or daily life encyclopaedias (RiYongLeiShu) of these era. I am further interested in the claims and uses made for the developing Martial Arts techniques of the 19 th and early 20 th centuries. My work has a strong multi-disciplinary approach, in particular combining anthropological approaches and insights, in order to illuminate texts that are often wilfully, or otherwise, obscure.

Page last modified on 16 apr 11 22:28 by Helen Matthews