337 Cohen Hall
Nathan Sivin, University of Pennsylvania
Marta Hanson, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
"What Students of 20th-Century Science Can Learn from the Study of Ancient China"
Abstract: Marta Hanson (Johns Hopkins) and Nathan Sivin will speak briefly about what they consider the relevance of their current work for the contemporary history of science, and then open up the workshop for discussion. Sivin’s current book manuscript, “Health Care in Eleventh-century China,” comes to grips with the fact that—as in early modern Europe—physicians provided health care for only a small fraction of the population, and addresses the neglected question of what efficacy means in early health care. Hanson’s book manuscript, “Chinese Medical Divination: Medicine, Astrology, and Arts of Memory in Late Imperial China,” examines how Chinese physicians and astrologers shared numerological and mnemonic methods from the 11th through the 18th centuries. The authors will discuss how they framed their questions about ancient China with contemporary concerns in mind. Can Asia’s ancient scientific past help historians better understand American science and medicine in the 20th century? That is the question we’ll debate in this workshop.