Universiteit Leiden

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Changing Representations of Body and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Japanese Medicine

  • Dr. Yuki Terazawa (Hofstra University)
Wednesday 24 November 2021
Leiden Lecture Series in Japanese Studies
Online via Zoom (link to the lecture below)

This lecture will be held via Zoom: click here for the link. 

The medical field in mid-eighteenth century Japan saw the rise of new approaches to analyze the body, find causes of diseases, and develop medical remedies, concomitant with what Foucault would call an “epistemic shift” or an overarching change in the criteria for determining what constituted legitimate medical knowledge. These new approaches prepared Japanese physicians to accept Western medical methods and the medical body that developed within this tradition in the mid- to late nineteenth century. However, the shift that pervaded across different fields, including natural sciences, Chinese and Japanese studies was not prompted by European influence, but was a result of developments within the scholarly community of Tokugawa Japan. In the field of obstetrics and midwifery, physicians belonging to the new obstetrics school, called the Kagawa School, invented new methods that took advantage of newly introduced perceptions of the human body as a distinct and tangible object. Their school was opposed to the Chinese medical tradition’s age-old perception that the body and larger universe were systemically connected. This lecture also discusses the changing view of sexual difference along with these issues.

About Dr. Yuki Terazawa

Yuki Terazawa received her Ph. D. in Japanese history from UCLA and currently teaches at Hofstra University in the state of New York. She published her book, Knowledge, Power, and Women’s Reproductive Health, 1690-1945 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Her publications include an article on Chinese “comfort women,” titled, “The Transnational Campaign for Redress for Wartime Rape by the Japanese Military,” NWSA (National Women's Studies Association) Journal (Fall 2006). She has also worked on the issues of female students in STEM fields in Japanese universities and recently begun her research on Japanese immigrant midwives in Seattle in the 1920s.  

Link to the lecture (Zoom)

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