He Bian - Assistant Professor of History and East Asian Studies, Princeton University
Formulaic literature (fangshu) constitutes one of the largest categories of printed texts in late imperial China, yet historians have largely considered recipes as of secondary importance to medical theory. Upon scrutiny, the seemingly simple act of sharing medical recipes in print can be parsed into a variety of sub-genres that evolved in time. In Ming-Qing times, medical recipes functioned as coveted cultural capital that enabled individuals to express their visions for personal and social well-being, opening up new spaces for historical interpretation. In this talk, I offer an outline of a book project that focuses on published medical recipe collections during China’s long eighteenth century. I will argue that the techniques of individual and social life documented in those pages should be considered an essential feature of Qing political culture.
He Bian is Assistant Professor in History and East Asian Studies at Princeton University. She obtained her PhD in History of Science from Harvard University in 2014. Her book, Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press in Spring 2020, and her articles have appeared in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Late Imperial China, and Early Science and Medicine.