“Lingnan” as the extreme south of imperial China has long been imagined in cultural and political terms rather than as a specific geographical space. The typical Sinocentric historical narrative is that, with the progressive penetration of Han Chinese civilization in the South, the “strangeness” of southern things and customs, or the marked “differences” between Han and southern cultures were gradually erased. This study unpacks this narrative by focusing on the medical aspects of post 13th century cultural interactions between the political center in imperial China to the north, and the loosely defined Lingnan region to its extreme south, extending to today’s northern Vietnam. The choice of medical things and experts inevitably highlights the ecological specifics of the “South” as a political and cultural margin of the Chinese Empire. The study will focus on the inter- and intra-regional flow of medical materials, knowledge, practices, and experts, and on how medical matters constituted pre-modern “Southern” identities.
The Mote Lecture is followed by a reception at Prospect House.
Angela Leung is the Joseph Needham-Philip Mao Professor in Chinese History, Science and Civilization at the University of Hong Kong and Director of the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Her books include Leprosy in China: A History (2009, Chinese translation, 2013) and Miandui jibing: Chuantong Zhongguo shehui de yiliao guannian yu zuzhi (In Face of Illness: Concepts and Organization of Medical Care in Traditional Chinese Society) (2012) and is the author of numerous other articles and books.