You are here

Air/Qi Connections: Notes from the History of Science and Medicine

The UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Ruth Rogaski, professor of History at Vanderbilt University, and Wen-hsin Yeh, professor of History at UC Berkeley. 

When:
November 3, 2017 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Print

The UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Ruth Rogaski, professor of History at Vanderbilt University, and Wen-hsin Yeh, professor of History at UC Berkeley. 

What is the relationship between the air we breathe (in Chinese, kongqi) and the qi of Chinese medicine? This talk explores the history of this intersection in order to better understand the cultural underpinnings of the connection between health and environment in China today. Typically translated into English as “vital energy,” qi has long been at the core of traditional Chinese conceptions of nature, the cosmos, and the human body. In classical medical texts, qi was intimately linked to air, but qi could not be reduced to an equivalence to atmosphere alone. Ever since the European Jesuits tried to tutor Chinese scholars about the Four Elements, Westerners had attempted to persuade Chinese to embrace "air" and leave qi behind. By the late nineteenth century, translated texts about chemistry, physiology, and medicine began with treatises on the existence of air and gas. Impacted by these texts, physicians of Chinese medicine selectively adopted certain aspects of Western science into their understanding of qi, yet maintained an understanding of qi as something that went beyond air. The talk concludes with some musings about the relationship between qi and air today, in an era when enthusiasm for the health benefits of qigong coexists with the presence of an increasingly unbreathable atmosphere.

Cost: 
Free
Phone Number: 
510-643-6321

Events

October 17, 2017 - 4:00pm
Los Angeles, California

The USC U.S.-China Institute presents a talk by Michael Meyer, whose last book in his China trilogy tells a story both deeply personal and universal as he captures what it feels like to learn a language, culture and history from the ground up. 

 

October 19, 2017 - 4:00pm
Los Angeles, California

Please join the USC U.S.-China Institute for a presentation by Wei Yen (厳序纬), author and veteran businessman, to examine Chinese outbound investment and how American businesses can take advantage of China’s rise to forge win-win partnerships.