Updated: 2012-03-02 14:32
Chinese medicine is the focus of a talk that is based on field trips to East African countries. Xiao Chun / for China Daily
Professor Elisabeth Hsu of Oxford University reckons that Chinese medicine "appears to cater quite well to an emergent urbanite 'middle class' affected by postcolonial disorders - from pressure to sugar".
Based on nine one-month long field trips to Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda between 2001 and 2008, Hsu has discovered that the interplay of patients, practitioners and their paraphernalia highlighted cross-cultural communications thriving on ambiguity, misunderstandings and, sometimes, outright deception, thereby calling into question some basic assumptions made about medicine, culture, human understanding and social relations.
Hsu is professor of Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, at Oxford, and fellow of Green Templeton College. She has convened the master's courses in medical anthropology since 2001 and founded a post-doctoral anthropology research group at Oxford on Eastern Medicines and Religions in 2006.
Before moving to Oxford, she spent 16 years at Cambridge, pursuing her studies in the fields of general linguistics, social anthropology, and the history of science technology and medicine in China.