P 17a Visual Perspectives on Asian Medicines

Knowledge of Asian medicines is subject to circulation, transfer, and reinterpretation like no others. Regarding this knowledge in motion, research in the social sciences has been the most important reference point throughout the last decades. Since the 1970s, research on Chinese medicine, for instance, has been conducted in fields like sociology, contemporary history, social and cultural anthropology by Charles Leslie, Paul Unschuld, or Volker Scheid, only to name a few.

Notwithstanding the pioneering fields of research mentioned above, do Visual Studies and Visual Anthropology contribute to our understanding of Asian medicines? By what means can medical reasoning, actions, emotions, and the body in the therapeutic relationship be framed methodologically and heuristically? How can the many sensorial and physical experiences be captured, their multiple significations, times and spaces in the settings of Asian medicines? To what extent does the audio-visual experience overcome the potential limits imposed by the written text? Does the audiovisual approach allow for going beyond the diachronic segmentation of complex relations and their layered situations?

These questions are to be specified for the socio-cultural contexts of Asian medicines and their practices, i.e. pharmacopoeia, massage, martial arts, etc.

On the occasion of this panel, in order to frame the making and the uses of pictures likewise, we do not only take anthropological fieldwork on Asian medicines as a point of departure, but the analysis of visual material already collected from a visual perspective as well.

Impressions of ICTAM IX

  • Impressions of ICTAM IX, 2017, by Matthias Burmeister, ICTAM IX Filmteam

Trailer ICTAM IX, 2017