(Visual) Culture of Chinese Medicine


Did you know that Duke has copies of every single edition of Andreas Vesalius’s earth-shattering sixteenth century anatomical masterpiece, De humani corporis fabrica (On the fabric of the human body)? Did you know that Duke is home to the photographic oeuvre of American sociologist Sidney Gamble who traveled throughout China in the early twentieth century, documenting social life? Did you know that we are only five hours away from the nation’s largest collection of Chinese public health posters from the 1950s and 1960s? Would you like to see these things with your own eyes and learn how to analyze them like a sophisticated scholar?

You can do all this and more in the (Visual) Culture of Chinese Medicine Freshman Seminar. You will learn about the history of medicine through the study of medical practices and beliefs in China. You will explore how those beliefs formed, how Chinese medical practices have changed over time, and how the introduction of Western biomedicine forced fundamental changes in Chinese medicine over the course of the twentieth century. You will also learn about the discipline of History, and produce a research paper using both textual and visual sources in close consultation with your professor. With generous funding from Humanities Writ Large initiative, our class will travel to the National Library of Medicine in Washington DC to meet with professional archivists and see striking artworks such as the 1933 public health poster depicted here. 

Curriculum Codes: 


Theme (Concentration)

Medicine, Science and Technology