Work of the Fellows: Monographs

Gathering Medicines: Nation and Knowledge in China’s Mountain South

Farquhar, Judith (Fellow, 2007–08; Fellow, 2015–16), and Lili Lai

Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2021

From the publisher's description:

In the early 2000s, the central government of China encouraged all of the nation’s registered minorities to “salvage, sort, synthesize, and elevate” folk medical knowledges in an effort to create local health care systems comparable to the nationally supported institutions of traditional Chinese medicine. Gathering Medicines bears witness to this remarkable moment of knowledge development while sympathetically introducing the myriad therapeutic traditions of southern China.
 
Over a period of six years, Judith Farquhar and Lili Lai worked with seven minority nationality groups in China’s southern mountains, observing how medicines were gathered and local healing systems codified. Gathering Medicines shares their intimate view of how people understand ethnicity, locality, the body, and nature. This ethnography of knowledge diversities in multiethnic China is a testament to the rural wisdom of mountain healers, one that theorizes, from the ground up, the dynamic encounters between formal statist knowledge and the popular authority of the wild.


Subjects: Anthropology; History; Medicine; History of Medicine; Ethnography; Chinese People; Chinese History; Social Anthropology; Cultural Anthropology