Translating the Body: Medical Education in Southeast Asia

Cover of the book titled "Translating the Body."

Hans Pols, associate professor at the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney; C. Michele Thompson, professor of Southeast Asian history at Southern Connecticut State University; and John Harley Warner, the Avalon Professor in the History of Medicine and professor of American studies and of history 

(National University of Singapore Press)

Western conceptions of the body differ significantly from indigenous knowledge and explanatory frameworks in Asia. As colonial governments assumed responsibility for health care, conceptions of the human body were translated into local languages and related to vernacular views of health, disease, and healing. The contributors to this volume chart and analyze the organization of Western medical education in Southeast Asia, public health education in the region, and the response of practitioners of “traditional medicine.”

Translating the body” is a shorthand for the formulation of medical ideas, practices, and epistemologies in contexts that require both interpretation and transmission. The process is both linguistic and cultural, and in approaching medical education, the book follows recent work in translation studies that underscores the translation not merely of words but of cultures.

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