Medical pluralism at the periphery: health, modernity and ethnicity in Guangxi, China, 1920s–1950s

Year of award: 2019


  • Yier Xu

    Newcastle University

Project summary

In many ethnic minority regions of China, multiple methods of medical practice and knowledge coexist uneasily. Most hospitals serve people in cities and many people in rural areas can only access the health services provided by village practitioners who have taken a one-year course in medical institutions. Some in ethnic minority communities also turn to religious treatments, such as enchantments and rituals, which have been the traditional means of healthcare. 

I will provide a historical analysis of how different methods of medical practice and knowledge interacted with each other in Guangxi, a multi-ethnic province in south-west China, in the first half of the 20th century. 

A historical analysis of these relationships will allow us to understand the tensions that exist between different forms of healthcare and suggest pathways towards more cooperative forms of engagement among different medical communities.