FSS-DHIST Guest Lecture: On my Birthday and When I am Sick: Women Reflecting on Ageing in Qing China

E21-G035, Humanities and Social Sciences Building

Event Information

Event NameFSS-DHIST Guest Lecture: On my Birthday and When I am Sick: Women Reflecting on Ageing in Qing China
CategoriesSeminar / Lecture
OrganizerDepartment of History (FSS)
SpeakerProf. Grace Fong (McGill University)
Date03 November 2017
Time15:30 - 17:00
VenueE21-G035, Humanities and Social Sciences Building
ContentMedicine for women (fuke 婦科) as a branch of Chinese medical knowledge and practice took shape as early as the Sui and Tang dynasties, although in Chinese medical writings the term only came into currency in the Song. Written by male physicians and scholars, the perceptions and treatments of women’s health in medical discourse have focused predominantly on the reproductive function of the female body, thus limiting medical attention to the pre-menopausal period in a woman’s life. How women’s bodies and health changed and were affected in middle and old age and how women themselves experienced and thought about the final phase in their life course remain largely blank pages in Chinese medical history. With the recovery of a substantial number of women’s poetry collections from the Qing period, we now have a potentially significant sample of texts, including prefaces, poems, and biographies, in which we can locate records of women’s experience of the process of bodily change and old age. Two subject matters in poetry – reflections on one’s birthday and records of one’s illness seem especially germane to this investigation. Through close readings of such texts, I intend to provide an analysis of the discursive patterns, topical range, and embedded social and medical meanings in women’s experiences of old age and associated bodily changes.
Target AudienceAll are welcome

Contact Person for Details

NameMario Cams