Medicine between Science and Religion, Explorations on Tibetans Grounds, ed. by Vincanne Adams, Mona Schrempf and Sienna R. Craig

Softcover, 371 pages, New York 2013, new

There is a growing interest in studies that document the relationship between science and medicine - as ideas, practices, technologies and outcomes - across cultural, national, geographic terrain. Tibetan medicine is not only known as a scholarly medical tradition among other Asian medical systems, with many centuries of technological, clinical, and pharmacological innovation; it also survives today as a complex medical resource across many Asian nations - from India and Bhutan to Mongolia, Tibet (TAR) and China, Buryatia - as well as in Western Europe and the Americas. The contributions to this volume explore, in equal measure, the impacts of western science and biomedicine on Tibetan grounds - i.e., among Tibetans across China, the Himalaya and exile communities as well as in relation to globalized Tibetan medicine - and the ways that local practices change how such “science” gets done, and how this continually hybridized medical knowledge is transmitted and put into practice. As such, this volume contributes to explorations into the bi-directional flows of medical knowledge and practice.


“…shows the substantial recent developments in studies of Tibetan medicine. These developments not only point the way forward for the field, they also hold significant implications for other social studies of medicine and science, in Asia and beyond.  ·  The Journal of Asian Studies

The implications of [this volume’s] approach to knowledge and research have far-reaching implications beyond the limits of any one academic discipline, and may also inform choices concerning the provision of healthcare worldwide. Hence the insights proffered by the nuanced analyses of this book, framed as they are with such discerning editorial skill, have profound value for medical anthropology and, more generally, for social scientists, practitioners of healing arts, health seekers, and health providers as they (re)negotiate the theories and practices of health care in the liminal spaces that interface the science and religion of our increasingly globalised world.  ·  Anthropos

This volume, containing thirteen articles, including an introduction by the editors and an illuminating conclusion by G. Samuel, is an excellent illustration of this development [of the advances made in medical anthropology over the last two decades]."  ·  Religious Studies Review

"This beautifully crafted volume explores the entanglement of science, medicine and religion, thus transporting us beyond all too common dualistic oppositions of tradition and modernity, science and religion. Close examination of the history of modern Tibetan medicine, and of healing encounters, clinical research and institutional changes, make it startlingly evident how biomedical science and its practices are extensively translated and transformed through incorporation into diverse Tibetan settings, even as Tibetan medicine, long since syncretic, is made yet more so – the traffic is decidedly two-way. Grounded in the sensibility of the sowa rigpa – the “science of healing” foundational to Tibetan medicine, these essays permit no facile interpretation of biomedicine as either usurper or savior. The profoundly humanistic insights of this book have worldwide significance, and should be read diligently by everyone involved in global health care and the social sciences of medicine."  ·  Margaret Lock, Co-author, An Anthropology of Biomedicine excellent contribution to the literature on Tibetan medicine in the context of modernity and globalization... The editors do an exceptional job at framing the analyses provided in specific chapters. Their introduction to the volume is wonderfully written and instructive to the reader in regards to the scope and intent of the volume.  ·  Craig Janes, Simon Fraser University, BC

Autor: Vincanne Adams, Mona Schrempf, Sienna R. Craig, Alex McKay, Martin Saxer, Stephan Kloos, Barbara Gerke, Kim Gutschow, Mingji Cuoma, Olaf Czaja, Alejandro Chaoul, Geoffrey Samuel
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