Unnatural Circulations: Blood Transfusion and Banking in Modern China


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




Beginning in the late 1930s, a growing group of biomedical doctors working in China devised increasingly extensive schemes to facilitate the transfer of blood and its by-products between different individuals. Blood transfusion and banking, and the attendant radical redefinition of blood as replenishable and interchangeable between unrelated bodies, disturbed older associations between xue (blood), personal vitality, kinship, and racial lineage. This study examines how these and other sets of meanings coursed through transcultural translations of blood transfusion in medical literature, politically-charged campaigns to galvanize blood donors, and popular responses towards these invitations to bleed for profit, patriotism, and the industrial production of plasma in modern China.