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ISBN: PB: 9780226763651

ISBN: HB: 9780226763514

University of Chicago Press

March 2021

304 pp.

22.8x15.2 cm

5 halftones, 3 tables



Gathering Medicines

Nation and Knowledge in China's Mountain South

In the early 2000s, the central government of China encouraged all of the nation's registered minorities to "salvage, sort, synthesize, and elevate" folk medical knowledges in an effort to create local health care systems comparable to the nationally supported institutions of traditional Chinese medicine. Gathering Medicines bears witness to this remarkable moment of knowledge development while sympathetically introducing the myriad therapeutic traditions of southern China.

Over a period of six years, Judith Farquhar and Lili Lai worked with seven minority nationality groups in China's southern mountains, observing how medicines were gathered and local healing systems codified. Gathering Medicines shares their intimate view of how people understand ethnicity, locality, the body, and nature. This ethnography of knowledge diversities in multiethnic China is a testament to the rural wisdom of mountain healers, one that theorizes, from the ground up, the dynamic encounters between formal statist knowledge and the popular authority of the wild.