Asian Connections: Flows of People, Medicines, Ideas, and Practices

May 1, 2024
Asian art scene with trees and mountains in the background, a bridge in the middle-ground with people on foot and on horseback crossing and more people and trees and houses in the foreground

Date and time

Tuesday, May 7 · 9am – 5pm GMT+1


Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies7 Owengate Durham DH1 3HB

The Measurement Lab, in collaboration with Thinking East Asia, is delighted to co-host this workshop on Asian Connections: Flows of People, Medicines, Ideas, and Practices. Histories of Asian societies and states have often privileged the relationships between Asia and the West. Yet connections within Asia not only have much deeper roots, but have arguably been even more important in shaping the continent’s past and present. Historical analyses that foreground connectivities draw attention to methodologies for thinking beyond static boundaries and frameworks. Studies of movement/flow provide axes of engagement which reveal the dynamism of historical contexts. This workshop addresses these issues and brings into dialogue scholars of Asia with diverse areas of expertise. Spanning the medieval, early modern, and modern periods, our workshop encourages scholars to explore how flows of people, medicines, ideas, and practices have built connections between different societies across the Asian continent.

Our programme features research presentations from eleven scholars based at universities across the UK and China, including Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS, and Peking University.

This event has been organized by Sare Aricanli and Nicholas McGee on behalf of the Durham University History Department’s ‘Thinking East Asia’ research cluster, with support from Durham University History Department, Institute for Medical Humanities, Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and the International Office.

It will take place at the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Durham University (7 Owengate, Durham, DH1 3HB) from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Tuesday 7 May, 2024.

All are welcome. Please register to attend the event. Note that this is an in-person event.

Workshop Programme

8:45 Arrival

9:00 Welcome Sare Aricanli and Nick McGee

9:15 Materia Medica in Translation

Ming Chen (Peking University) – ‘The Sinicization of a Foreign Word in the Medieval Period: Taking Awei 阿魏 (Asafoetida) as an Example’

Dror Weil (Cambridge) – ‘Moving an Episteme – Some Insights into the Translation of Medicine in Premodern Eurasia’

10:15 Coffee break

10:30 Medicines on the Move

Shan Huang (SOAS) – ‘Panacea from China to the Mediterranean Sea: The Origin of Musk and its Trade Route’

Yitong Qiu (Oxford) – ‘Ruling and Healing: Ownership and Use of Medicine Among Qing Officials 1700–1912’

11:30 Coffee break

11:45 Disease at and across Borders

Sining Lyu (SOAS) – ‘Confronting Disease in the Qing Empire’s Borderland Campaigns’

Baihui Duan (Oxford) – ‘Smallpox Panic: Managing Diseases and Sino-Chosŏn Relations’

12:45 Lunch

2:00 Where Asia Meets Europe

Hasaam Latif (Durham) – ‘Re-thinking the Pre-History of the Cardiff Race Riots 1919’

Ana Akulich (Leeds) – ‘Orthodox Encounters: Migration, Language Skills, and Worship in Russian Orthodox Communities in China, 1890s-1940s’

3:00 Coffee break

3:15 The Flows of War

Floris van Swet (Northumbria) – ‘Foreign Skill in a Japanese Periphery: Korean Migrants in Early Modern Tosa Domain’

Xinyi Chi (Wuhan) – ‘The Transnational Management of the Burma Road Transportation’

Helena F.S. Lopes (Cardiff) – ‘Wartime Flows in Three Connected Colonies in South China, 1937-1945′

4:45 Concluding Comments and Next Steps

Nick McGee and Sare Aricanli

Register for this Workshop

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