East Asian Languages and Cultures | Chinese Medicine and Religion
E202 | 26920 | Stanley-Baker


Topic:  Bod(ies) in Chinese Medicine and Religion

This course provides an introduction to the basics of Chinese
Medicine, and the Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist traditions through
the critical lens of the body.  It is easy to imagine that the body
is a universal given, something all humans have in common across
cultures and ethnic boundaries.  However, different cultures
describe the body in very different ways, determining how people
experience their own bodies and the world. After grounding ourselves
in the basics of each of these traditions we will focus on topics
like acupuncture and qi, immortality, life after death, ritual,
meditation, diet, sexual practices, and holy relics.  This approach
of embodied culture is grounded in Western phenomenology, so
readings will also include foundational texts from this field to
help us explore the idea that the body is a cultural phenomenon.

Classes will consist of lectures, discussions, student
presentations, and some physical exercise.  Since we will be
thinking about the body and what it means to be alive in/as it, we
will also be practicing taiji, acupressure massage, pulse-taking and
other traditional Chinese medical diagnostic techniques.  Students
should therefore be prepared to participate bodily as well as
intellectually.

Assignments will include 2 short response papers, a mid-term and a
final paper, as well as spot-quizzes.

Grading will be based on how well you know the tradition, your
ability to clearly and articulately discuss topics at hand, and an
ability to keep such reflection within the terms of each tradition.
Students should therefore be able to use the vocabulary and thought
of each tradition to discuss key concepts, and be able to clearly
distinguish these reflections from 21st century Western perceptions
of these issues.