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TU Berlin

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From Changshan to a new antimalarial drug (1929-1946) - Re-Networking Chinese drugs and exluding Chinese doctors

Hsiang-lin Lei (University of Chicago)

This paper investigates the history that Western-style doctors discovered the anti-malarial efficacy of Chinese herbal drug changshan (常吱) in China. Since Western-style doctors started struggling against traditional doctors in the late 1920s, they tried to recruit political allies with the project of Scientific Research on Chinese Drugs. Paradoxically, while Western-style doctors celebrated this discovery as the major achievement of their research project in 1940s, the changshan research was initiated, recorded and officially supported by an enthusiastic advocate of Chinese medicine - Chen Guofu (帧仫妊). Viewing this history from Chen's strategic position, I would argue that the discovery of changshan was in fact a re-networking process and that it cannot be properly understood without taking into consideration the particular agonistic field in which the discovery was made. By means of this case study, this paper will address the crucial question: how could Western-style doctors re-network the Chinese drugs while excluding traditional Chinese doctors from the project of Scientific Research on Chinese Drugs.

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