Film and the Chinese Medical Humanities: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Film and the Chinese Medical Humanities

1st Edition

Edited by Vivienne Lo, Chris Berry, Guo Liping


252 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-11-20
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Film and the Chinese Medical Humanities is the first book to reflect on the power of film in representing medical and health discourse in China in both the past and the present, as well as in shaping its future.

Drawing on both feature and documentary films from mainland China, the chapters each engage with the field of medicine through the visual arts. They cover themes such as the history of doctors and their concepts of disease and therapies, understanding the patient experience of illness and death, and establishing empathy and compassion in medical practice, as well as the HIV/AIDs epidemic during the 1980s and 90s and changing attitudes towards disability. Inherently interdisciplinary in nature, the contributors therefore provide different perspectives from the fields of history, psychiatry, film studies, anthropology, linguistics, public health and occupational therapy, as they relate to China and people who identify as Chinese. Their combined approaches are united by a passion for improving the cross-cultural understanding of the body and ultimately healthcare itself.

A key resource for educators in the Medical Humanities, this book will be useful to students and scholars of Chinese Studies and Film Studies as well as global health, medical anthropology and medical history.


"This collection of film studies brings together the creative work of China’s most talented filmmakers as they reflect on contemporary social problems, work out in narratives and images an original analysis of what’s wrong with us (as individuals, as a society, and in cultural settings), and as they propose paths to redemption."

Judith Farquhar, Max Palevsky Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Introduction, Vivienne Lo, Chris Berry and Guo Liping

Part 1: Cross Cultural Histories of the Body and its Care

1. Dead or Alive: Martial Arts and The Forensic Gaze, Vivienne Lo

2.How to be a Good Maoist Doctor: Wuyingdeng xia song yinzhen 无影灯下颂银针 (An Ode to the Silver Needle Under a Shadowless Lamp, 1974), Leon Antonio Rocha

3.Self-Care, Yangsheng and Mutual Aid in Zhang Yang’s Shower (Xizao 洗澡 (1999), Michael J Clark

4. Sentiments like Water: Unsettling Pathologies of Homosexual and Sadomasochistic Desire, Derek Hird

Part 2: Film and the Public Sphere

5.The Fever with No Name: Genre-blending Responses to the HIV-tainted Blood Scandal in 1990’s China, Marta Hanson

6. Fortune Teller: The Visible and Invisible, Lili Lai

7. Longing for the Rain: Journeys into the Dislocated Female Body of Urban China, Vivienne Lo and Serenity Nashuyuan Wang

Part 3: Improving the Education and Training of Health Professionals

8. The Gigantic Black Citadel: Design of Death and Medical Humanities Pedagogy in China, Guo Liping

9. Blind Massage: Sense and Sensuality, Chris Berry

10.Cinemeducation and Disability: An Undergraduate Special Study Module for Medical Students in China, Daniel Vuillermin

Part 4: Transforming Self-health Care in the Digital Age

11. Raising Awareness about Anti-microbial Resistance: a Nationwide Video and Arts Competition for Chinese University Students using Social Media, Therese Hesketh, Zhou Xudong and Wang Xiaomin

12. Queer Comrades: Digital Video Documentary and LGBTQ Health Activism in China. Hongwei Bao

13.Recovering from Mental Illness and Suicidal Behaviour in a Culturally Diverse Context: The Use of Digital Storytelling in Cross-cultural Medical Humanities and Mental Health, Ermnia Colucci and Susan McDonough

14. Food-related Yangsheng Short Videos among the Retired Population in Shanghai, Xinyuan Wang and Vivienne Lo

About the Editors

Vivienne Lo is a Senior Lecturer and the convenor of the UCL China Centre for Health and Humanity, UK. Vivienne's core research concerns the social and cultural origins of acupuncture, therapeutic exercise, and food and medicine.

Chris Berry is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London, UK. He researches Chinese-language cinemas and other Chinese-language screen-based media.

Guo Liping is Professor of English and Vice Dean in the School of Health Humanities, Peking University, China. Her research interests include narrative medicine and medical humanities education.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Asia-Pacific Studies

The Asia Pacific has seen great social, environmental and economic change. The region is now the focus of considerable attention by the academic community. This series brings together the best of the current research from right across the social sciences and humanities.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / General
MEDICAL / History
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies