The Syringe Body: Injection Therapy and Medical Reconstruction in Twentieth Century China


Luce/ACLS Travel Grants in China Studies




This project explores how injection therapy was transformed over the course of the twentieth century from an efficacious drug delivery method that symbolized biomedical modernity in Republican China from 1911 to 1949, to a practice that traversed between two epistemologically distinct medical systems in Communist China from 1949 until the present day with the modern invention of Traditional Chinese Medicine injection and acupoint-injection therapy. In this transformative process, the syringe materialized Chairman Mao’s advocacy for “the integration of Chinese and Western medicine.” Adopting the material approach advocated by the history of science, this project looks at how syringes and injectable drugs configured the encounter between traditional Chinese medicine and biomedical sciences.