Considering Boundaries of Animal Medicine in East Asia within the context of Translation
Translating concepts and terms from East Asian languages to English involves a variety of processes. Examining questions of translation becomes increasingly complex within the sphere of animal medicine. Pharmaceuticals made of animal parts and the medical care of animals constitute clear cases of the intersecting realms of animals and medicine. Examples beyond these spheres, such as the medical use of animal products, and practices that are common to the treatment of humans and animals are reflective of issues at the boundaries of animal medicine.
Animal products as well as medical practices provide opportunities to investigate questions of translation. The materiality of animal medicine is highly multifunctional, as exhibited through animal products that have medicinal properties. A newly patented form of silk is, for example, consumable as medicine. Moreover, animal waste was not only used in agriculture, but also for a variety of healing purposes. Furthermore, specialty medical practitioners in late imperial China had patients who were comprised of humans as well as animals. In each of these cases, the definitions and translations of terms become intertwined with a number of elements such as their function and the conceptual boundaries related to their use.
Translation can include a literal mapping of meaning onto another linguistic realm, transformations, as well as a variety of (mis)/interpretations and diverging meanings. This panel will aim to disentangle these differing understandings, by considering the questions that emerge from translating terms related to products, processes, and practices that rest at the boundaries of animal medicine.