Program

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation Travel Grants to China

Project

Animals and Acupuncturists of Revolution: Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Commune Science in Maoist China, 1949-1976

Project

More-than-People’s Communes: Veterinary Workers, Animals, and One Health in Maoist China

Department

History of Science

Animals and Acupuncturists of Revolution: Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Commune Science in Maoist China, 1949-1976

This project documents the making of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) as a new hybrid veterinary medicine emerging from the revolutionary political economic experiment in Maoist China from 1949 to 1976. It argues that TCVM was constructed as “commune science,” a process and product of knowledge construction in which elite scientists, laypeople, and nonhuman animals collaboratively participate for the dual purpose of serving socialist industrialization and sustaining the communal ways of living in a “commune” as an ecological community. By shedding light on the everyday lives of grassroots veterinarians and their animal patients, I will reveal one of the most understudied aspects of China’s revolutionary past.

More-than-People’s Communes: Veterinary Workers, Animals, and One Health in Maoist China

This dissertation examines the grassroots veterinary system in China’s Maoist period (1949–1976). It shows that there were bottom-up efforts to preserve the vitality of humans, domestic animals, and the environment through the work and knowledge of local “people’s communes.” At the center of these initiatives were large numbers of local veterinary workers. Veterinarians, animal disease prevention workers, animal caretakers, and breeders undergirded the economic, intellectual, and moral order in which farm animals and veterinary expertise were regarded as common goods. This dissertation argues that prior to the post-1978 capitalist reforms in China, “more-than-people’s communes,” or places where diverse humans cared for, healed, and exploited nonhuman beings to weather the revolution’s radicalism and unpredictability, did exist.