The needle and the lancet: British acupuncture and the cross-cultural transmission of medical knowledge

                         Bivins, Roberta E.; PhD

                         MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, 1997
                         HISTORY OF SCIENCE (0585); HISTORY, MODERN (0582); HISTORY, ASIA, AUSTRALIA AND
                         OCEANIA (0332); HEALTH SCIENCES, MEDICINE AND SURGERY (0564)

                         Acupuncture first arrived in Europe in 1683, through the writings of a Dutch physician working for the
                         Dutch East India Company in Japan. For the next two centuries, the practice persisted in the margins of
                         European medicine, rising at times to high visibility and then repeatedly slipping back into obscurity. The
                         technique of acupuncture represents both a complex phenomenon--one which incorporates culturally
                         specific ideas about the health, the body, and the meanings of disease, as well as a canon of expert
                         knowledge--and an apparently simple and distinct technology. Thus the pattern of its transmission and
                         introduction to Europe, and of European lay and medical responses to the technique reveals information
                         about perceptions of the Other and of the body, as well as about technology transfer and the diffusion of
                         innovation within medicine. This study of acupuncture's Western history focuses on the particular path
                         by which acupuncture was transmitted to Great Britain, and popular and professional responses to the
                         technique from 1683 until 1901. Lay and professional perceptions of acupuncture are placed into the
                         wider social context of Enlightenment, Regency, and Victorian Britain, through an analysis of the
                         changing professional milieu and popular culture. (Copies available exclusively from MIT Libraries, Rm.
                         14-0551, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307. Ph. 617-253-5668; Fax 617-253-1690.)


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