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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Rooms 8 & 9, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
Event date: 
Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 - 17:00 to 18:30

China Research Seminar Series talk given by Roel SterckxUniversity of Cambridge

This talk explores the medical in non-medical texts from early China. I will discuss the figurative use of medical vocabulary by focusing on three themes that are particularly prominent in Warring States and early imperial texts: the widespread reference to the body and illness in political rhetoric; the appearance of the doctor or physician as a narrative function and political interlocutor; and the role accorded to illness as a ploy to circumvent or contest political relationships and obligations. My aim is to show that these rhetorical, political, and social references to the medical were related to each other and should therefore not be studied as isolated modes of literary, socio-political, or philosophical argumentation.

Roel Sterckx is Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History, Science and Civilisation at the University of Cambridge. His writings include The Animal and the Daemon in Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), Food, Sacrifice, and Sagehood in Early China (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), Chinese Thought. From Confucius to Cook Ding (London: Penguin 2019) and several (co-)edited volumes.