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Other titles in the Body, Commodity, Text: Studies of Objectifying Practice series:
The Afterlife of Images: Translating the Pathological Body Between China and the West (Body, Commodity, Text)by Larissa N. Heinrich
Synopses & Reviews
In 1739 Chinaandrsquo;s emperor authorized the publication of a medical text that included images of children with smallpox to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Those images made their way to Europe, where they were interpreted as indicative of the ill health and medical backwardness of the Chinese. In the mid-nineteenth century, the celebrated Cantonese painter Lam Qua collaborated with the American medical missionary Peter Parker in the creation of portraits of Chinese patients with disfiguring pathologies, rendered both before and after surgery. Europeans saw those portraits as evidence of Western medical prowess. Within China, the visual idiom that the paintings established influenced the development of medical photography. In The Afterlife of Images, Ari Larissa Heinrich investigates the creation and circulation of Western medical discourses that linked ideas about disease to Chinese identity beginning in the eighteenth century.
Combining literary studies, the history of science, and visual culture studies, Heinrich analyzes the rhetoric and iconography through which medical missionaries transmitted to the West an image of China as andldquo;sickandrdquo; or andldquo;diseased.andrdquo; He also examines the absorption of that image back into China through missionary activity, through the earliest translations of Western medical texts into Chinese, and even through the literature of Chinese nationalism. Heinrich argues that over time andldquo;scientificandrdquo; Western representations of the Chinese body and culture accumulated a host of secondary meanings, taking on an afterlife with lasting consequences for conceptions of Chinese identity in China and beyond its borders.
Traces the development of Western medical rhetoric, visual art, and iconography that linked ideas about disease to Chinese identity at the onset of modernity.
An investigation of the creation and circulation of Western medical discourses linking ideas about disease to Chinese identity, beginning in the eighteenth century.
About the Author
“The Afterlife of Images is a fascinating and important study of the ways that Western medicine participated in the formation of ideas of race, the discrete body, the autonomous self, the nation, and a modernist literary imagination in China. Well written, carefully researched, and loaded with subtle and persuasive interpretations, it is the kind of historical study needed to demonstrate the aesthetic and ontological constructions—the naturalizing powers of medical representation—that have given us our complex modern ‘nature.’”—Judith Farquhar, author of Appetites: Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China
“Larissa N. Heinrich deftly weaves a range of materials—including prints, painting, photography, and literature—into a fascinating narrative of the ways visual and linguistic tropes formed and reinforced certain eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western understandings of China. Furthermore, she is attentive to the dialectics of the relationship, especially the way that Western knowledge and ways of seeing shaped certain Chinese concepts about China and its problems, especially in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth.”—Stanley K. Abe, author of Ordinary Images
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
1. How China Became the andquot;Cradle of Smallpoxandquot;: Transformations in Discourse 15
2. The Pathological Body: Lam Qua's Medical Portraiture 39
3. The Pathological Empire: Early Medical Photography in China 73
4. andquot;What's Hard for the Eye to Seeandquot;: Anatomical Aesthetics from Benjamin Hobson to Lu Xun 113
Epilogue: Through the Microscope 149
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