Workshop Report: Sacred Cures – Situating Medicine and Religion Across Asia

Michael Stanley-Baker

Michael is a post-doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, jointly appointed by the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge. He graduated from University College London with a PhD in the History of Medicine, and also holds a clinical degree in Chinese medicine. Michael investigates therapeutic diversity in early medieval China (220-589 CE), and also serves as the treasurer for IASTAM, the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine, the foremost practitioner/scholar organisation for studying medical traditions across Asia.

This announcement first appeared in the IASTAM newsletter: http://iastam.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/IASTAM-newsletter-Summer-2016.pdf

Workshop Report
Sacred Cures – Situating Medicine and Religion Across Asia
(Max Planck Institute for the History of Knowledge, May 2-4)

This workshop, co-organised by council members Michael Stanley-Baker and Pierce Salgeuro, brought together specialists in the intersection of religion and medicine in the Himalayas and East, South, and Southeast Asia. All together, they examined what work has been done by the terms medicine/religion, or related binaries such as medicine/healing or classical/vernacular. What is clarified or distorted when these categories are mapped onto other languages, periods and regions? They explored commonalities across regions and across time, working from the classical to the contemporary. How do scholars and cultural actors alike produce “medicine” and “religion” as fields and as methods? Taking stock of recent gains in the field, they discussed remaining areas for study, and compared and refined the tools and terms that might be used in that endeavour.

Papers were pre-circulated, and no presentations were made in the workshop. Participants were invited to address the following areas:

  1. Historiography: How has the religion/medicine question been framed by different academic communities?
  2. Materials: What primary sources or archives are available for the given historical periods and/or cultural contexts, and how these afford different kinds of analysis of the question?
  3. Means: What moments, encounters, processes, practices, and relationships produce or reveal significant (re)structurings of medicine and religion?

Many of the panellists are long-standing IASTAM members, and the forthcoming edited volume will be published with IASTAM members in mind.

Speakers

  • Pre-Modern/Classical-Medieval: Donald Harper, Vivienne Lo, Katja Triplett, Michael Slouber, Tu Aming & Joey Hung,
  • Early Modern: Projit Mukharji, Katharina Saberning, Leslie DeVries, Angelika Messner
  • Modern/Contemporary: Helen Lambert, Celine Coderey, Elisabeth Hsu, Geoffrey Samuels, Mona Schrempf
  • Closing remarks: Judith Farquhar & Kenneth Zysk

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