Book

Hygienic Modernity

Ruth Rogaski

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240018
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930605 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520240018.001.0001
Hygienic Modernity

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Placing meanings of health and disease at the center of modern Chinese consciousness, this book reveals how hygiene became a crucial element in the formulation of Chinese modernity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The author focuses on multiple manifestations across time of a single Chinese concept, weisheng—which has been rendered into English as “hygiene,” “sanitary,” “health,” or “public health”—as it emerged in the complex treaty-port environment of Tianjin. Before the late nineteenth century, weisheng was associated with diverse regimens of diet, meditation, and self-medication. The book reveals how meanings of weisheng, with the arrival of violent imperialism, shifted from Chinese cosmology to encompass such ideas as national sovereignty, laboratory knowledge, the cleanliness of bodies, and the fitness of races: categories in which the Chinese were often deemed lacking by foreign observers and Chinese elites alike.

Keywords: weisheng; Tianjin; diet; meditation; self-medication; imperialism; Chinese cosmology; national sovereignty; bodily cleanliness; racial fitness

Book.  415 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Hygienic Modernity

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Seen and Unseen in Hygienic Modernity

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