Spit, Chains, and Hospital Beds: A History of Madness in Republican China, 1911 to 1937


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships




My research examines the ways in which everyday men and women came to terms with new psychiatric epistemologies and institutions that were introduced to China in the Republican period (1911-1949). While previous works on Chinese medical history focus exclusively on the attitudes of intellectuals and reformist political elites, my research shifts the focus onto the types of people who were not immediately concerned with the project to modernize Chinese medicine. Instead, I explore the more subtle ways in which Chinese healers, patients, and families integrated aspects of neuropsychiatry into their preexistent medical repertoires, appropriated new terms to describe their psychosomatic suffering, and invoked psychiatric concepts to explain the changing shape of 20th century Chinese society.