Posted by C3W Admin on June 21 2022
The Connecting 3 World Project is pleased to share the fantastic news that our Ph.D. student Liang Wan has passed his Ph.D. upgrade recently. Co-supervised by the PI of our project, professor Dora Vargha, and Dr. Stacey Hynd, Liang’s research focuses on scientization, institutionalization, and popularization of acupuncture in Maoist China. As part of the “Connecting Three Worlds” project, his research foregrounds Chinese knowledge systems and their engagement with global medical regimes. His research aims to provide a nuanced perspective of the way a socialist country established medical and public health systems through the employment of different resources. It also investigates China’s participation in international organizations, the global exchange of medical knowledge and personnel. His research contributes to revealing what “TCM” means and what role traditional/ complementary alternative medicine (T/CAM) has and can play in the contemporary healthcare field from a global point of view. This important study will also extend our understanding of Chinese “socialism” as an ideology imbued with fluid meanings and based on adaptive intersections between tradition, collectivism, and internationalism.
In the past year, due to travel restrictions, Liang has been working in China for his field research. He has been writing his thesis in the past few months in Shanghai, when the city was under strict lockdown orders to control a coronavirus outbreak. Despite many difficulties amid the drastic measures during the lockdown, Liang has completed the first chapter of his thesis brilliantly. In his recent work, Liang has investigated the position, knowledge, and practices of acupuncture-moxibustion prior to 1949. He argues that acupuncture was a peripheral therapy among the Republican Chinese medical community, which is contradicted to present perception that it was an essential part of the so-called Traditional Chinese Medicine. In his opinion, the exile of acupuncture to a non-mainstream and folk tradition was resulted from the marginalization of knowledge by the rise of scholarly or Confucian medicine. This traditional therapy was further marginalized after the introduction of Western (bio-)medicine from the beginning of the twentieth century. However, Liang also told us that despite its peripheral position in the mainstream medical discourse, acupuncture continued to exist and be practices and transmitted through folk practitioners and practical acupuncturists, especially in rural areas, which paved the way of its expansion after 1949 and inspired the Chinese Comment Party to promote this therapy in the primary healthcare system.
We congratulate Liang for his achievement and wish he will be able to join us soon in Exeter and to share his research in the coming project annual meeting in Berlin in September.