University of Pittsburgh
February 12, 2013

Traditional Chinese Medicine Conference to Be Held at Pitt Feb. 15-16

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Traditional Chinese medicine, based on practices extending back more than 2,000 years, will be the focus of a University of Pittsburgh conference extending over two days.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine in Contemporary Contexts,” which will examine the role of ancient medicinal traditions in the modern world, will be held from 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, through Saturday morning, Feb. 16, in Pitt’s University Club,123 University Place, Oakland. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Those wishing to register need to e-mail Rachel Jacobson at with their names and affiliations.

Co-organized by Pitt anthropology professor Andrew Strathern and his research and publishing partner, Pamela J. Stewart, the conference’s purpose will be to examine how traditional Chinese medicine has changed in modern-day and diaspora contexts. Viewed through the prism of the emerging field of medical anthropology, the conference will consider traditional Chinese medicine as a study of the interaction of different medical approaches to treating illness. Conference papers also will address the ritual aspects of traditional Chinese medicine.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine in Contemporary Contexts” arises from Strathern’s long-term work in the field of medical anthropology, a discipline he and Stewart, his wife, have helped to establish. They have coauthored or coedited more than 20 books, including an influential textbook, Curing and Healing: Medical Anthropology in Global Perspective (Carolina Academic Press, 2010).

“Holding this conference extends our work and our interest in the direction of traditional Chinese medicine,” said Strathern. “Chinese medicine is of great interest today in the field of medical anthropology.”

The conference is sponsored by Pitt’s Asian Studies Center, University Center for International Studies, Confucius Institute, and China Council.

A listing of papers to be delivered follows. 

Friday, Feb. 15
9 a.m.
“In the Specific: Animating Daoist Ideas and Practices in Traditional Chinese Medicine,” Mei Zhan, University of California-Irvine. 

9:30 a.m.
“Can Cosmological Models Explain and Forecast the Public Health and Weather Afflicted Ailments? A Reading of Some of the Neijing Concepts,” Wei Zhang, University of South Florida. 

10 a.m.
“Many Cultures, Many Biologies: Consciousness in Chinese Medicine and Cognitive Science,” Wenyi Zhang, University of Illinois. 

11 a.m.
“Reassembling the Traditional: A Case Study of Emergence of Chinese Medical Paidu,” Yanhua Zhang, Clemson University. 

11:30 a.m.
“The Clinical Significance of Tongue Diagnosis and Chronic Pain,” Aizhong Li, New York Chiropractic College. 

2:30 p.m.
“The Formation of Daodi Medicinal Materials,” Eric Brand, Paradigm Publications.

3:30 p.m.
“Visualizing Qi and Medical Imagery in Chinese Medicine,” Nancy Chen, University of California-Santa Cruz.

4 p.m.
“Treating Side Effects of Radiation Therapy With Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine,” Qunce Zhang, New York Chiropractic College. 

Saturday, Feb. 16
9 a.m.
“Fengshui Forests, Fengshui Theory, and the Vitality of Land and Lineage in Rural Southern China,” Chris Coggins, Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

9:30 a.m.
“The Materiality of Qi: A Phenomenological Interpretation of Fengshui Objects and Contemporary Meridian Diagnosis Devices,” Shih-Hsiang Sung, University of Pittsburgh.