On this page you can get a taste of some of the panels we will host at ICTAM IX and get inspired for your own submission.
This list is not exhaustive and only includes panels which are looking for further panelists to complete and diversify the discussion. We will — in close cooperation with the panel organisers — match paper submissions with open panels.
If you want to be part of one of the open panels, contact the organisers and submit your abstract to the open call for papers.
Asian Medical Industries: Contemporary Perspectives on Traditional Pharmaceuticals
Over recent decades, Asian medical systems have increasingly transformed into Asian medical industries. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Unani, Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan medicine), Japanese Kampo and Korean medicines are now mass-produced commodities on the global market, and are recognized in their countries of origin as valuable economic and healthcare resources. Indeed, traditional pharmaceuticals now constitute an integral part of Asia’s knowledge products industry and its growing economic power, while their potential contribution to Global Health is starting to be recognized. There is a clear need for scholarly work in this field to go beyond Charles Leslie’s seminal, but outdated, framework of “Asian medical systems” in order to productively engage with Asian medical industries as complex, emergent and transnational phenomena.
This panel explicitly focuses on the emergent dimensions of traditional pharmaceutical industries in contemporary Asia. As a platform for a comparative approach and perspective on these industries, the panel aims to draw out and analyze shared and contrasting trends and developments in order to shed light on the phenomenon as a whole. How are people, technologies, materia medica, values, financial resources, policies and different forms of knowledge being assembled in new ways to produce traditional Asian pharmaceuticals? How are traditions reinvented, ownership renegotiated, policies remade, and ingredients reformulated as Asian medical systems are transformed into medical industries? What implications do these processes hold for public and private healthcare, governments, industry owners and workers, institutions, practitioners and patients within and across various Asian contexts?
We invite original papers that offer new perspectives on the contemporary development of Asian medical industries. Contributions may focus on one or more of the following domains: raw materials, pharmaceutical production technologies and processes, markets, policy, regulation, ownership, and property rights. While papers on any of the medical traditions mentioned above are welcome, we particularly solicit work on the relatively understudied TCM, Unani, Kampo, and Korean medicine industries.
Ayurveda as a blueprint — what happens when healing tradition travels abroad
Ayurveda is one of the oldest codified traditional systems of medicine worldwide. During the last decades an increasing usage and acceptance of Ayurveda in countries outside of its original context, particularly in West-ern countries, has been observed. Notably, Ayurveda has taken different shapes during this fascinating journey, interacting with several other concepts of healing and philosophy. Depending on where and by whom it is being practiced and called upon, it has taken different shapes to different degrees depending on a significant number of cultural, political, economic, geographical and other factors. Due to this complexity, interdisciplinary Ayurveda research is required in all related fields, e.g. medicine, anthropology, philosophy, indology and religious sciences, in order to further clarify Ayurveda´s current status over here and its potentials in countries outside of South Asia. This panel invites scientists from all disciplines to present their research work related to Ayurveda as practiced outside of South Asia.
Reimagining Unani Medicine
This panel invites papers which seek to reimagine the timeline and geographic scope of the Graeco-Arabic medical tradition, and its practice. To date, much scholarly ink has been spilled charting the “Golden Age” of Islamic science, often focusing on the development of Graeco-Arabic medicine in cities in and around the Levant until the eleventh century. The subsequent late medieval and early modern periods are generally narrated as a time of intellectual stagnation and decline at the hands of the religious establishment, which was only reversed with the rise of European scientific knowledge and globalizing medical practices in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This panel invites papers that problematize this well-ingrained narrative’s boundaries – geographic, temporal, linguistic and cultural – by exploring Graeco-Arabic medical theory and practice.
In keeping with the conference theme we welcome papers that take up, but are not limited to, the following questions:
What did Graeco-Arabic and Unani medical practice look like outside of the Levant, in regions from the Maghreb to Southeast Asia?
What did medical practice look like, beyond the literate physician-scholars?
What would reimagined boundaries for medical practices look like, beyond post-Cold War regional divisions, such as the "Middle East" and "South Asia," both historically and today? What picture of Asian medical practice emerges by connecting more traditional textual sources with the emergent scholarship on material exchange along the Silk Road, the Maritime Silk Road and other Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Mediterranean trade routes?
Was the “Golden Age” narrative ever relevant to Unani (/Yūnānī) and other traditional practitioners who continued use this medical knowledge into the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries? How did/do Asian practitioners imagine themselves in relationship to the original sites of Graeco-Arabic translation, if at all?
How can re-writing the history of Graeco-Arabic and Unani medical knowledge and practice challenge conventional understandings of “center” and “periphery” with regard to knowledge production, and what new frameworks emerge if we do?
The Influence of Culture on Cardiovascular Diseases
Non-communicable diseases (ncds) cause significant physical, emotional and economic damages for individuals, families and governments worldwide. Low and middle-income countries are the most affected, and with approximately 80% of the world population and a limited ability to provide high quality health care to their citizens, it is imperative to find other solutions. In China for example, 230 million people have cardiovascular disease (CVD) according to official statistics. Interestingly, a wealth of available data indicates that lifestyle changes such as the consumption of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, reduction in tobacco use and moderate physical activity are preventive measures that can limit the onset of these diseases and even reverse the trends observed. Despite these recommendations from most health agencies (WHO included), the number of cases continues to rise worldwide.
Culture, similarly to diet plays an important factor impacting health. In fact, the concept of cultural consonance, defined as the degree to which individuals approximate in their own (personal) belief or behaviors, patterns encoded in shared cultural models has been demonstrated to influence the health of individuals. In this respect, it would be important to further scrutinize the role of culture in the rise of cardiovascular and other lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases. The concept of culture (as shared conventional practices) has emerged as a powerful means for understanding the sharp rise in certain lifestyle diseases; many ncds today are significantly mediated by migration, modernization, mobility, social alienation, and globalization processes more generally. These features of 21st-century life have contributed to the rapprochement of populations, and the transfer of practices and values throughout the world.
Modernization, particularly in low and middle-income countries influences the rise in lifestyle-related ncds. This is accompanied by a change in cultural context, which also influences an increase in the risk factors for individuals (unhealthy diet, tobacco use, hypertension, increased blood glucose, physical inactivity, obesity). Our workshop will examine the relationship between culture and the rise in CVD and attempt to determine which cultural elements are higher risk factors. In addition, we will attempt to foster the concept of interdisciplinary research between the biomedical sciences and the humanities.
Chinese Medicine, Emotion, and Disease in Past and Present
Ideas and practices regarding the relationship of emotion, health, and disease in Chinese medicine are long-standing and well-established from ancient times then on. Recently, although profound changes are taking place in the medical concepts and therapeutic methods in contemporary society, the theory of emotion in Chinese medicine still is unique in the prophylaxis and treatment of emotion-related diseases.
The questions to discuss in this panel will be:
- Firstly,what are the particular referential historical, anthropological and theoretical resourses on which clinicians who deal with emotion-related diseases, rely or can rely for practical medical implications?
- Secondly, what about the state of the art in historical studies on the emotions and emotion-related disorders in Chinese medicine?
- Thirdly, as far as historians on emotions in Chinese medicine are concerned, how to respond to the encounter with the development of emotion studies in modern western medicine, psychology, and anthropology?
- Fourthly, how can we feasibly deepen the research and further intensify communications and dialogues between historians and clinicians in the field of emotion-related diseases?
This panel will provide a platform for historians and clinicians to explore and discuss emotion knowledge in Chinese medical history with a particular focus on the issue of practice.
As Chinese medicine migrates to the West what standards are real, helpful, or appropriate?
This panel deals with some of the many levels and aspects in which the issue of “standardization” has come into play as part of the process of Chinese medicine’s migration to the West [here referring primarily to Europe, North America, and Australia.
There is a huge cultural and social gap to be traversed so that this medicine can be of benefit to the populations of these countries. Over and over again in these lectures we will confront the issue of standardization — by whom, for whom, and for what purposes. We will approach this issue from a variety of perspectives and expertise, relying in this particular workshop on people who have grown up in the modern West.
The normal way in which standardization is accomplished in the modern world is detrimental to a proper understanding and utilization of Chinese medicine. Medical terms cannot be usefully translated by simply having commissions draft dictionaries, and medicinal materials found in historical texts will not be properly utilized unless any attempt to standardize them honors their traditional backgrounds and use. The variance of the pharmaceutical laws and understandings of the correct manner of medicinal monographs between the different countries of the West and the traditional approaches has to be addressed with finesse and care. Also the lack of a sense of context in the West, which insists on understanding the effect of medicinal materials in terms of single substances or even more extremely single chemicals, clashes with the way that East Asian societies always use frames of reference and must be taken into account.
These perspectives will include translation, practice, pharmacology, and regulation, together with economic and cultural considerations. The presenters will demonstrate how issues of standardization and regulation make it clear how Chinese medicine not only challenges preconceived ideas in the West, but also that some of the obstacles to the general acceptance of Chinese medicine as a way of helping people are put there as a means of limiting competition in the medical marketplace.
Disease, from history to present
This panel focuses on the differentiation of eastern and western medicine, in views of diseases, comprehension of the interaction between history and medicine, and exploration of the integration and connection between academic research and clinical practice. Since ancient times, people all over the world have struggled with diseases and thus formed varieties of cognitions.
Rooted in different cultures and societies, they have emphasized the difference despite the original similarity between each other, representative of eastern and western medicine. It is therefore an interesting and meaningful task to analyze the difference between the two on their understandings of diseases and explore the process and reasons for their evolutions, either to rhetoricians or clinical doctors.
From a microcosmic view, the researchers may describe the development history of a specific disease of Asian medicine; they may also discuss how the occurrence of a disease influenced the history or how the history took a record of the disease macroscopically. It can either be a medical study to explain how the historical record of diseases are applied to the clinical practice, or be a historical research to elaborate how the scattered literature of medicine reveals a true history. From history to reality, and from academic to clinical research, it may also reflect the theme of this congress — the encounter, translation and transformation of Asian medicine.
Southeast Asian Medicine: transition, diversity and integration
Southeast Asia is often described as being “in transition”, a time of rapid economic, demographic and ecological change. This panel invites researchers and practitioners of Southeast Asian medicine to consider the following questions on diversity and integration in contemporary practice. Southeast Asia contains a heterogenous range of “traditional” medicine practices, often little-documented, which have undergone varying degrees of formalisation and health systems integration. But can Southeast Asian medical traditions be said to have certain common characteristics, and if so, how do these manifrest in medical theory and practice? To what extent do these originate from the spread of the “codified” traditions of China and India as opposed to being indigenous? Many Southeast Asian countries host highly ethnically diverse populations, and what is often termed “folk” or “rural” medicine use is still widespread. Ritual, religion and magic often play a prominent part in treatment, and practices can be highly diverse and individualised, in a dynamic state of production.
Therefore, how far can each country be considered to have its own medical system, and does a “national medicine” exist in a defined form? Has it been influenced and changed through contact with biomedicine, or positioned in opposition? Is this “national medicine” in contrast to the pluralistic forms through which medical practice is commonly enacted? Has it been through a process of “re-invention” for political purposes; can it be understood through the perspective of “symbolic capital” or as “resistance” against past colonial influence? What are the implications of its social and political status for future health system integration and state legislation?
Furthermore, many medical practices in Southeast Asia are still closely connected with the collection of biodiversity and the practitioner’s relationship with the natural world; how will a changing cultural and ecological landscape affect their future use and survival? Does the loss of access to biodiversity affect the forms in which medicine is produced and practised?
Worms, Demons and Gods: Disorder and Health Within the Body
Indian and East Asian medical traditions envisioned the inner landscape of the human body as the abode of numerous other living beings. Some of these beings were worm-like creatures, some were demonic, some were gods. Some were dangerous etiological agents, others were protective guardians.
We know today that the human body hosts an array of parasites; we understand the mechanism of how they cause disease; and we have sophisticated ways of eradicating them. Before the invention of the microscope in the early seventeenth century, only tapeworms, pinworms, maggots, etc., were visible to the naked eye. Yet traditional medical systems imagined that an additional host of parasite-like entities, along with demons and gods, inhabited the human body.
Classical Indian medical texts, such as Caraksaṃhitā and Suśrutasaṃhitā, attribute a range of somatic and psychological disorders to a variety of demons called graha (seizers). The texts suggest remedies in the form of ritual offerings. In early Chinese and Japanese medicine traditions, the body was imagined to house a set of spirits with peculiar names derived from Daoism.
In some of the traditions, the patients have been treated with medicine. Suśruta recommends enemas, medicinal drinks, and powdered animal feces as cures for worms. Dietary advice is also given in Suśruta as well as in Chinese and Japanese medical manuals. Magical or ritual cures have been employed in some East Asian settings as well.
In some cases, these imagined inhabitants of the body are diagnosed and treated by today’s practitioners of traditional Asian medicine. For example, some acupuncturists in Japan have treatment protocols for children sufferings from irritability and excessive crying, a syndrome that is still named after the (imaginary) kan worm, which traditionally caused the symptoms in the child.
This panel especially welcomes papers that focus on visual representations of worms, disease demons or other beings that inhabit the body and papers on contemporary diagnosis and treatment of traditional worms or demons.
Pain in old age: Drugs, care, touch
“What works for whom how long how much under which circumstances” should be the starting point for the exploration of a difficult situation. The management of pain in the Elderly is challenging. Multimorbidity is the rule, not the exception, and as a consequence there are complex and difficult prescribing regimes. These prescribing regimes limit the range of possibilities for analgesic prescribing – adverse effects on bowel function, alertness, lucidity, renal function are common and the risk of falling increases. Non-pharmacological methods provide an alternative. They include psychological strategies (attention control, mindfulness) and touch-based interventions (manual therapy, acupuncture). Mind-body therapies like Tai Chi or specific rehabilitation strategies like Bobath training also come into play.
They are therapist-delivered therapies. This links to another important field – how is the division of labour organised? What is the status for touch-based interventions? How is the borderline between touch as part of care for basic physical functions and specific therapeutic interventions configured? And where do these intersections and boundaries feature in the division of labour, in the practice of care, delivered by many people and many organisations?
The lived experience of vulnerable older people, experts by experience, and the knowledge of experts by profession will be brought together in a panel. It will have a practical and pragmatic dimension by anchoring the investigation in the sociomaterial realities of older people experiencing pain and the medical and organisational responses to this challenge. It includes multiple levels of enquiry, from neurophysiology to care sciences to management studies.
These positions should be considered in the selection of panel members and the orchestration of the discussion.
Politically, Correct: Determining Scientific Truth and Legitimacy
The question of what constitutes “real” science, and who has the right to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate scientific practice, is embedded in the political economies of (post-) colonialism and warfare. During the twentieth century, Asian medicines and sciences faced particularly poignant challenges to their definitions of legitimacy that incited practitioners, promoters and politicians to employ an array of tactics for determining and demonstrating “truth.” The political nature of the challenges invited politically motivated “defenses of indigeneity” that are themselves worthy of interpretation and analysis.
This panel thus fits into the theme “Policy, Economics, Global Health and Development.” Defenders of Asian medicines have had to walk a taught tightrope that hangs precariously between the world of denounced “quackery” and superstition, and the world of politically charged invented traditions such as TCM (“Traditional” Chinese Medicine that is utterly modern) and globalized yoga (which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently called “an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition”1). If they are forever relegated into the camp of superstition or the camp of exaggerated “tradition,” how are Asian medicines to articulate themselves in terms that insurance companies, government bodies and other power holders can accept?
This panel seeks to explore the fraught politics of defining scientific efficacy throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. We invite: papers that center on the body as a site for performing political expertise and expressing empirical uncertainty; analyses of the state as a historical actor that not only exercises formidable power but also confronts constrained agency; and examinations of different geopolitical concerns from across Asia, as well as intra-national and trans-national spaces. Papers that cover historical time periods can shed light on current processes, while papers on contemporary issues can illuminate the long-term trends plaguing Asian medicines. This panel excavates multiple meanings of science and medicine while questioning how different political conditions have scripted and continue to script the making and breaking of legitimacy and truth.
1 Modi spoke thusly in his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 in his petition for the establishment of the International Day of Yoga, which the UN declared in December.
Methods and Theory in the Anthropology of Healing in South Asia
Karin Polit Karin Polit
In the field of Medical Anthropology, it is often particularly challenging to integrate human experience with various, sometimes conflicting, ideas about health and well being. Hence researchers interested in healing traditions have utilized and continue to draw on a range of methods to understand specific healing practices, their efficacy and their entanglement in social and political discourses, frequently working with methodologies from disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, and biomedicine.
Increased access to new technologies, diverse institutional changes in the context of unique healing practices, as well as changing expectations of patients have further complicated the anthropological study of healing over the past decades. In this panel, we propose to discuss new challenges in the research and analysis of healing.
Some of the questions we will address include:
- How do we study patients' health-seeking decisions and behaviors in a setting like South Asia, where a medical system is usually not only pluralistic but increasingly hybrid as well?
- How do we account for decisions made by doctors and patients in the context of healing in India, where traditional healing practices of Unani, Tibetan Medicine, and Ayurveda have undergone long histories of institutional changes with the result that even within one tradition a wide range of competing practices are available to patients and physicians?
- How do we study the healing of so-called mental health issues in the Himalayas, South India, and Sri Lanka, where a range of traditional healing practices exist and are known to be effective yet challenged by the biomedical paradigm and an increased focus on psychological and psychiatric interventions?
Materiality, Efficacy, and the Politics of Potent Substances
This panel proposes to bring together scholars and practitioners for a multidisciplinary exploration of ‘potent substances’—the herbal, fungal, mineral, metal, and animal-based materia medica at the heart of Asian medicines. We aim to discuss issues such as the links between materiality and understandings of efficacy, and what makes a substance ‘potent’ in a given Asian medical tradition or setting.
- How can we approach the study of these ‘substances’ from historical, textual, ethnobotanical, anthropological, medical, ritual, and other perspectives in the increasingly global contexts that materia medica find themselves in, including the multiple and multi-storeyed networks, lifeworlds, and regulations?
- Who defines ‘potency,’ and how does this get politicised in contemporary moves to produce and regulate Asian medicines as pharmaceuticals in Asia, Europe, and beyond?
- Where, how, and why are we potentially losing access to ‘potent’ substances through policies, ways of doing science, endangered sources, or environmental changes?
- How can we develop more nuanced and multidisciplinary approaches to better embrace and understand the interplay between the biomedical-pharmacological-material worlds of the substances themselves and their socio-cultural, economic, and political aspects?
This panel will examine these and other areas of what makes substances ‘potent’ from various perspectives, including textual-historical, ethnographic, and sensorial and phenomenological. Our aim is also to further explore how materia medica are sourced, traded, identified, compounded, substituted, ritually consecrated, scientifically tested, (il)legalized, and politicized when used in Asian medicines and related healing practices.
Health Promotion through Yoga Science – points for guidelines
There is a worldwide growing activity in the field of health promotion influenced directly or indirectly by Yoga and others. Adult education/University Extension, Government organizations, Companies, Medical Organisations, etc. integrate concepts inspired by Asian medicine and their health promotion strategies. More and more people are ready to do themselves something for their health. Practical evidence, interest of the people and research shows that this will be a growing field in future. There where WHO initiatives to understand health in its biopsychosocial dimension (first definition 1946) and to create heath where people live, at the workplace, school, family (second WHO definition 1986, Ottawa Charta). After this the worldwide health promotion has developed much. Since the UN declared in 2014 an International day of Yoga with the expectation of global health, Yoga has become an important role.
Currently, Yoga, especially in the European context, also in Amerika and in India, is on the way to develop from old Yoga to Yoga science for now and the future.
The issues of standardisation, quality insurance, education, concepts, medical research (esp. heartrate variability, muscle use, yogic spinal cord model) is therefore an issue of major concerns, not only from the part of Health Care research, but also from the part of Health Sciences, Psychosomatic/Behavioural Medicine, Pain management, Functional Anatomy, Yoga, Sociology, Neuroscience and Sports.
We welcome papers that explore these issues from different perspectives.
Science-Policy Interface for Transformation of Asian Medicine: An insight into Ayurveda Combating Lifestyle diseases for Promotion of Global Health
Life style diseases such as diabetes are a growing threat. Even though a number of medicines are available but there is a growing concern for insulin resistance which is expected to affect majority of diabetic population. Asian Medicines can be effective for peripheral glucose utilization but they require strict guidelines. Unlike modern medicines which follow a series of treatment, Asian medicines can be different in their usage as they make a holistic approach involving the body, mind and soul. The drug prescription can depend on body types which can be roughly translated into pharmacogenomics.
One of the best aspects of such system of medicine is the drug enhancement by using multiple herbs which is the drawback of modern medicine. Given the fact that most diseases are an obscure of culmination of factors, single molecule with side effects can only provide symptomatic treatment. Obesity is a major cause of diabetes but modern medicines fail to control obesity and diabetes alike whereas Asian medicine particularly Ayurvedic medicines can control both of them together.
The government should lay down effective policies in the quality control of such medicines through nodal agencies. Modern systems such as DNA bar coding for the plants and organic farming must be given importance. The phytochemicals in such medicines should be identified and quantified and their effect on the patient with regard to their genomic constituents be analyzed.
Integration of non interyention therapy such as yoga, acupuncture and acupressure should also be assessed with regard to the genomics of the patients involved for cost effective treatment. Once the clinical trial data involving phytochemical constituents, pharmacogenomics and non-intervention therapy are collected they can be used for making effective guidelines and policies which would help in deciphering the processed herbs as a food supplement for diabetic prevention or as anti-diabetic medicines. The session will contribute for achieving Science-Policy Interface particularly in the Developing Countries.
Key words: Ayurveda, drug enhancement clinical studies Healthy India, health science-policy, pharmacogenomics, urban health.
Circulations and hegemonies: The Globalization of Asian Medicines
The processes of health globalization have recently attracted much attention from STS scholars. Analysis of the various ways in which biomedical research practices, forms of interventions, regulatory norms or public programs targeting priority disorders have become global have given a central role to the notion of “circulation”, insisting on the need for detailed understanding of the complex interactions at stake when experts, products and tools move from one place to another.
There is little doubt about what has thus been gained: circulations are far from obvious and require considerable work; they do not simply displace entities but change them; globalization only exists through localization and adaptation. One pervading problem of this paradigm is however that it tends to favor the image of a “flat” scene where multiple actors are granted with comparable – if not equal – agency.
In contrast, inquiries emanating from historians and anthropologists of health, often insist on the tensions underlying globalization, arguing for the pervading hegemony of biomedicine, especially when it comes to the contemporary transformation of “traditional” medical knowledge. Focusing on the globalization of Asian medicines, this session will discuss the necessity of articulating the concepts of circulation and hegemony.
The session will present studies of innovation processes located in China and India, which borrow from “local” medical knowledge and seek to grant the use of herbal pharmaceuticals with a global status. What will thus be highlighted is less the straightforward domination of biomedicine than the dialectical relation linking adaptation and alternative on the one hand; national policies, international regulation and regional hegemonies on the other hand.
Historical Encounters and Transformations of Medical Matters and Medical Meanings: Premodern Pathways between East Asia and Europe
Developing towards a global science of health and well-being, medicine has to a large extent relied on material supplies. What we view today as “globalisation” in a multicultural world, has far-reaching roots. The common European narrative emphasises the appropriation of materials by the “centre” and of knowledge by “the periphery”. But throughout the centuries, the objects and paths of appropriation went both ways. Local availability and changing chains for supplies impacted what became a preferred medication, a means for teaching or for therapeutic use. Premodern drug production privileged process over substance and mixture over purity, apparently contrasting modern “European” concepts. What can we say about the geography of resonances between earlier healing systems?
Our panel will take a comparative look at the premodern roots of this period’s creation of categories and rules for pharmaceutical and medical practice: How did issues such as pricing and availability, a substance's name or form shape the market for effective, precious, precarious or subtle medicinal substances, instruments and tools, of health and healthy bodies? Particularly welcome are contributions that take a combined view at the scientific practices and political and economic paradigms for global trade (between Asia and Germany).
Following the trajectory of matters, substances, preparations, and concepts, research leads to pharmacies and pharmaceutical practice. The Ducal Court Pharmacy at Wolfenbüttel provides ample archival evidence of gobal exchange (1576-1716, Wacker 2009). Preparations of plants like ginger, nutmeg, or poppy went into the hundreds, but alchemical knowledge was also present. The documenting data-base reveals trajectories of pre-modern concepts of healing between different cultures, and of trading substances and knowledge.
These data are complemented by the collection of early modern historical drugs at Braunschweig University of Technology (comprising about 900 samples of medicinal substances, among them medicinal substances from Indian alchemical materia medica) and Schneider's documenting Arzneimittelhistorisches Lexikon, which elaborates a systematic understanding of early modern materia medica and is based on alchemical instructions, but also stock lists and pharmacopoeas.
The panel will comprise 4-6 panelists from the History of East Asian and European Medicine giving examples of comparison and exchange.
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.
Policy, Economics, Global Health, Development
The rise of Asian medicine as a major economic force has drawn the attention of politicians and economists, who now seek to claim or defend against patent rights, to claim Intangible Heritage support from UNESCO, or to shore up political platforms based on post-colonial defences of indigeneity.
Questions to discuss:
Who is tracking the total world supply of Asian medicines (or is WHO tracking them?), and what are the major directions in which government health policy is moving?
How can individual practitioners and their representative groups, anthropologists and trials researchers keep better track of and help to shape these changes in national and international health policy and regulation?
Key actors to consider: politicians (lawmakers), regulators (regulatory agencies at the governmental and consumer levels), venture capitalists, practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, consumers, regulators can be sub-divided into medicinal plants cultivation,
Food or Drug?: Eastern Medicine Meets “Evidence-Based” Marketing
This panel investigates the rise and popularity of Asian medicine in global markets. In recent decades there has been an emerging market for healthy “lifestyles” and health “promotion”. Pharmaceutical industries sell new and old foods through claims about their medical power, or search traditional medicine for products companies can sell to new or alternative markets. The “drugs for life” paradigm constitutes a modern assemblage of proof or “evidence-based medicine”, new tactics in media and marketing, and an ideology of “healthism” centered on the individual as consumer of self-care and participant in disease definition. This movement is also a dismantling of earlier efforts to regulate marketplaces using a simple food-drug demarcation, where diet is the free domain of the layperson, drugs the restricted domain of expert practitioners.
One facet of this story is the collision of Western models of therapeutic control with traditional Eastern medical practices. The papers in this session examine the interactions between Eastern medicine, global marketing, and drug regulation. As boundaries for what is food versus drug blur, regulators, market middlemen, and consumers are left to broker these mixed markets and mixed epistemologies for health. The papers show that, at this intersection of traditional knowledge, corporate marketing, and modern empiricism, the story of East meets West gets messy.
Creating a Digital Knowledge Base of Himalayan Materia Medica
Fundamental to the production of efficacious and safe Asian medicines is the careful identification of materia medica to be used in compounding, whether at a small scale or for industrial production. Equally important are issues around sustainable harvesting and sourcing, dynamic and place-based systems of substitution for rare, endangered or unavailable ingredients, and knowledge about the market prices for materia medica. At the same time, naming medicinal ingredients and identifying visual representations (drawings, photographs) in relation to textual representations can be a source of confusion, not only between different classification systems (e.g. Linnean and Tibetan, Ayurvedic and Tibetan, etc.) but even within one medical system.
Added to this can be concerns about protected or even secret knowledge about materia medica, which practitioners might not want to make available ‚open source.’ And yet arguably the identification of materia medica remains a cornerstone in the production of medicines and in the support of robust, diverse knowledge from which medicine is produced, therapies prescribed, and healing occurs. Such empirically- and textually-grounded knowledge should also be the basis from which policies on conservation, cultivation, and sustainable harvesting are formed. A larger aim of this effort is to make more visible issues of depletion, substitution, and market (in)accessability as well as how national and global drug regulation intersects with local knowledge about specific materia medica.
This workshop-oriented panel aims to attract scholars and practitioners (max. 12 people) to give short (10 min.) presentations on their work and/or ideas on identifying and classifying Himalayan materia medica. We invite contributors from different medical systems and pharmacological traditions, understanding the Himalaya as a region where materia medica from Tibetan, Chinese, and Ayurveda intersect. We would like to focus on medicinal plants, with the aim of envisioning a platform by which the diversity of local and regional names can be accounted for and linked, as possible, to textual references within and across medical systems.
We understand that existing, if disconnected, resources are already in use across the region, but we would like to use this workshop to collectively envision what a geographically grounded, textually and ethnographically rich, multilingual platform could look like. What benefits would it bring and to whom? What infrastructures would be required to produce it? What would be the limits of its utility?
The significance of processing Chinese herbs (paozhi 炮制)
In China there is valuable traditional knowledge about preparing medicinal drugs using particular processing methods (paozhi 炮制) in order to give them a variety of different therapeutic effects. These methods serve not only to preserve the raw materials and to remove any toxic substances, but foremost serve to modify the therapeutic effects. Over the course of history the focus of attention has ranged over different aspects and the intensity of developments has fluctuated.
The Ming Period (1368-1644) for example, was a time in which knowledge about preparation methods (paozhi) flourished; technical possibilities became more refined and an increasing variety of additional substances began to be used in the preparation processes. In present-day China, however, this variety is being (severely) restricted in the attempt to impose standardisation and introduce technological processing.
This panel tries to elucidate the processing of Chinese herbs (paozhi) from different points of view. At first Dr. Ute Engelhardt will give a historical overview to provide a closer definition of the term paozhi and to explain its significance. This is followed by a short description of the historical development of these processing methods, which also takes into consideration some of the current trends in modern-day China. It concludes with a brief introduction to the Paozhi Project of the International Association of Chinese Medicine (SMS).
The second presentation by Dr. med. Rainer Nögel, internist and TCM-practitioner, will illustrate the clinical use of paozhi herbs by focusing on some of the most important medicinal drugs and their use in Chinese prescriptions/formulae.
Moreover, there will be further presentations on the processing of Chinese herbs (paozhi 炮制) by a German pharmacist and by a specialist of pharmacognosy.
Gathering knowledge of medical plants from the Himalayas: early botanists and plant-collectors in Nepal
The Kingdom of Nepal was one of the last regions in Asia to be studied by European naturalists. From the outset at the end of the eighteenth century, the identification and collection of medical plants from the foothills of the Himalayas and in the valley of Kathmandu played a crucial role in developing botanical knowledge of Nepalese plants and simultaneously served the needs of the Indian Medical Service of the British East India Company.
Early expeditions to Nepal, such as the outstanding enterprise of Francis Buchanan (later Hamilton), encountered many natural difficulties and bureaucratic obstacles created by the local authorities. However, they paved the way for later explorers, such as Nathaniel Wallich, and their collections of written records, drawings and samples provided the basis for research in Europe by David Don and others.
This interdisciplinary session intends to study the following research questions:
- What role did the collection of medical plants from Nepal play in extending botanical understanding, compared to other, non-medical plants, from the end of the eighteenth century?
- How was new knowledge created and transferred to British India and Europe, and to what degree did it serve supposedly 'imperial' interests as compared to purely scientific endeavor?
- To what degree did knowledge on medical plants from Nepal, and the local medical traditions, contribute to the progress of European medicine during the nineteenth century and beyond?
- What is the current status and threats to medical plants in the wild, to what extent are they understood, and how can they be used sustainably and conserved for the future?
- What areas of botanical and historical knowledge still need to be researched?
New Approaches to Chinese Medical Literature
This panel will be held in honour of Paul U Unschuld whose magisterial contribution to the history of Chinese Medicine needs no introduction. Professor Unschuld was also a driving force in the early years of IASTAM, so it is fitting to celebrate his retirement by convening, at the latest meeting of the society, many of those scholars whose work has been influenced by his tireless dedication to the field. The panel takes its inspiration from his first and only edited volume, “Approaches to
Chinese Medical Literature”, which was published in 1989. That volume, and indeed much of Professor Unschuld’s work since then, addressed issues that arise in translating Chinese medicine. It proved to be prophetic. Issues of translation are very much at the heart of contemporary academic enterprise in the world of Chinese medicine, not to speak of a major focus for international funding agencies. Since that time there have been intense debates about the nature of translation that focus
on issues of standardisation v. cultural translation on which Professor Unschuld has always taken a distinctive stand. Archaeological discoveries since the 1980s have stimulated important new approaches to the study of manuscripts and material culture which have revolutionized the history of Chinese medicine; and our understanding of China as an ‘open empire’, with deep historical connections along the routes through central Asia has also benefitted from this new wave of studies.
In response to Professor Unschuld’s work on pharmacology, a major element of this panel will therefore be on what happens as ideas, practices, but particularly substances travel. Finally, the investment into transcultural, transnational, and global histories of medicine over the past thirty years also allows us to reflect in new ways on the meta theme of ICTAM VII: Asian Medicines: Encounters, Translations and Transformations from the point of view of the reception of Chinese medical literature in the twenty first century.
Women in Practice
Asian Medicines have a predominantly male heritage – or so the recorded histories tell us. This panel provides an opportunity for contributors to explore women’s part in contemporary practice and / or women’s participation and contribution to the development of Asian medicines. Or how the expansion of Asian medicines outside Asia is being driven by women as consumers. Is there gender-shaping in how traditional medicines are being globalised?
The panel will be chaired by Dr Sue Cochrane whose contribution will be titled: Ageing in Practice: the experiences of older women working in Chinese medicine practice
From ethnopharmacology to biodiscovery
Traditional medicine (TM) is used by almost 85–90 % of the world’s population for their primary health care needs and its use is increasing worldwide. Ready-made products from TM, mainly herbal preparations either from whole herbs or extracts thereof, represent large economic factors in Asian and Western countries. In contrast to single substance pharmaceuticals, even if they are derived from plants like e.g. atropine, digoxin or artemisinin, the herbal preparations are usually multicompounds.
Due to the global distribution of such products, conducting scientific studies on their quality, safety and efficacy has become a pressing issue. Such scientific studies can help create an evidence-based TM and facilitate better health care integration and collaborations between medical professionals. Many TM formulations/drugs/plants have potential for developing into high quality modern medicinal products, which may offer valuable solutions in the face of increasing health challenges worldwide, such as chronic diseases, multi-morbidity, ageing societies and ever increasing health costs.
This panel is dedicated to the exchange of information and understandings about the current scientific studies on TM. Original and innovative studies on medicinal plants/formulas and clinical trials involving efficacy, safety and quality of TM formulations are especially welcome. Scientific validation covers all research fields straddling the border between the chemical, biological and medical sciences, with the ultimate goal of broadening our understanding of how nature works at a molecular level.
Emphasis is placed on describing the full range of scientific studies including verification of traditional uses, mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, phytochemical analysis and omic-technologies. Logical framework ideas on how to enhance scientific validation of TM, networking and funding sources can be also presented.
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.
The Institutionalization of Asian Medicines in Europe: Practitioners' Trajectories in Context
Knowledge of Asian medical practices circulates in a variety of forms, according to the national contexts they have become a part of. Asian medical practices are dependent on the practitioners’ individual trajectories and on social and institutional dynamics.
This panel focuses on realities experienced by key figures that have witnessed the development of Asian medical practices in Europe, as well as on collective realities linked to federations, associations, and schools of Asian medicines. To what extent is the diffusion of Asian medical practices due to the cultural and socio-economic dynamics of each European country in question? What do the trajectories of physicians and therapists invested in the acknowledgement of their practice tell us about the process of institutionalization? How do practitioners position themselves towards biomedicine and how do they define their area of expertise?
Apart from the particularities of each Asian medicine in question, what is equally of interest are the common grounds of Asian medical practices, from the point of view of practitioners’ trajectories, as well as from the socio-political strategies of collective legitimation.
This panel features inquiries from comparative and multi-disciplinary points of view, welcoming contributions from academia (history of medicine, social and cultural anthropology, sociology, political science) as well as by professionals (therapists, physicians, public health officials).
Elderly: the challenge for surveillance through transformation.
The life expectancy of people in general is increasing over the time therefore the proportion of elderly population is increasing globally irrespective of sex, education, class, community, marital status or even continent. Eiderly population has gone through a rapid transition and transformation due to industrialization, improvement in the health care facilities, technological advancement and socio-economic mobilizations.This need a special attention for elderly population and issues related to them. Under this major theme many a topic can be covered. The health nutrition and work efficacy of elders, Transformation of family care system to professional care system and it effects. The e q( emotional quotients) and s q (social quotients) of elderly under transforming family structure. Quality of life of elders with medical advancement, financial security and technology advances, Understand beauty and ugliness of elders. Beside this there are many more issues related to elders we can include in this Panel.
Institutional Encounters: Post-colonial Predicaments for Traditional Asian Medicine
This panel proposes to explore the postcolonial predicaments encountered by practitioners of traditional Asian medicine as they have become incorporated in or confronted the necessity of working through modern medical institutions. Through the first half of the 20th century, it is arguable that the vast majority of traditional practitioners across Asia worked outside modern health care institutions. Since World War II, which also marks the beginning of decolonizing process across the region, there has been an ever increasing pressure - a "postcolonial" imperative - in newly independent nation-states to bring modern institutional organization to traditional medical practices. How have these institutions enhanced, altered, or threatened the development of Asian medicine? In this panel, we hope to explore this question across a number of different social and historical boundaries. Karchmer's paper will address the role of modern anatomy in the institutionalization of Chinese medicine. When the Chinese state began to establish hospitals of Chinese medicine in the late 1950s, knowledge of anatomy became essential to the practice of Chinese medicine, to the extent that doctors of Chinese medicine now measure their clinical work against the truth claims of anatomy. For example, it is widely claimed that Western medicine treats "structural" pathologies, while Chinese medicine only treats "functional" ones. Lai's paper will address the postcolonial predicament facing practitioners of other ethnic medicines in China, looking specifically at the case of Zhuang medicine. In the early Communist period, Zhuang medicine was considered to be mere "folk" medicine, best administered through the new institutions of Chinese medicine. Since early 1980s, the orchestrated effort of healers, ethnobotanists, historians, and administrators have finally achieved state recognition of Zhuang medicine, culminating in the graduation of the first class of Zhuang medicine doctors from Guangxi University of Chinese medicine in July 2016. But these doctors confront new obstacles to the creation of a full-fledged Zhuang medicine: there are few available jobs for doctors of Zhuang medicine and their new diplomas disqualify them for work in Chinese medicine institutions. This panel proposes to trace the effects of these and other such postcolonial encounters across the world of traditional Asia medicine.