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Leprosy in China


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1. Li/Lai/Dafeng/Mafeng: History of the Conceptualization of a Disease/Category 2. A Cursed but Redeemable Body 3. The Dangerously Contagious Body: Segregation in Late Imperial China 4. The Chinese Leper and the Modern World 5. Leprosy in the PRC Epilogue: Leprosy, China, and the World Appendix 1: List of Leprosaria and Clinics in China Appendix 2: Indigenous Leper Asylums in Late Imperial China Glossary Bibliography Index

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Building on her complex history of the conception and treatment of leprosy in China, Angela Ki Che Leung offers an enlightening examination of the social history of the disease, especially its unique role in the stigmatization of Chinese and other Asians as preternaturally sickly races, which led to campaigns to eradicate the disease through modern drug therapies. In terms of both its historical breadth and its deep research, this fascinating study stands as one of the finest contributions to the history of medicine in China. -- Richard von Glahn, professor of history, University of California, Los Angeles Leprosy in China is a monumental work crafted by the top scholar in the field of the social and cultural history of Chinese medicine. Truly comprehensive, complex, and sophisticated, this book is the definitive study of one of the most symbolically important diseases in world history. It already stands as the only comprehensive book on a single disease in Chinese history available in English. As such, Leprosy in China sets the stage for a new direction in Asian medical history. -- Ruth Rogaski, associate professor of history, Vanderbilt University In this fascinating contribution, Angela Ki Che Leung vividly traces the biography of leprosy in China, a horrifying malady that organized perceptions of human difference and civic status within the region. Its dreadful career thus provides fresh insight into the bodily dimensions and redemptive tone of Chinese nationalism and state building. -- Warwick H. Anderson, University of Sydney Leprosy in China is a major work by one of our finest historians of the social history of medicine. The medieval story of leprosy as seen through religion, medicine, and folklore will attract East-West comparativists interested in the deep history of medicine and culture. The modern nineteenth- and twentieth-century story places China at the center of the worldwide public health crisis over leprosy-a crisis shaped as much by ancient fears and anxieties of empire as by scientific innovation. This book will be essential reading for all who care about a truly global, postcolonial, and critical history of public health. -- Charlotte Furth, University of Southern California

About the Author

Angela Ki Che Leung is a research fellow at the Academia Sinica of Taipei and a professor of history at the National Taiwan University. Her primary focus is on the social history of medicine in late imperial China, and she heads a research group on the history of health and hygiene in modern Chinese-East Asian societies.


A fascinating and detailed history of leprosy in China. -- Daniel Scott Missiology Highly Recommended. Choice What makes Leung's book important and demonstrates why disease histories should be written are the consequences which develop far beyond the medical - consequences that reach into the social, economic, and the political domains of a state, and perhaps spill over into world concern and judgement, not just of the state but of its people. -- Ruth L. Meserve Journal of Asian History Highly recommended for historians of China and of medicine -- David Luesink Pacific Affairs Leung's complex work stands among the most important books on Chinese medical history... Leprosy in China is a solid piece of scholarship that re-orients the historiography of East Asian medicine in sophisticated ways. Medical History

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