CASE 2:  Medicine and Childbirth

What would people in eighteenth-century Western Europe (and European immigrants to North America) have thought of Jizhai’s Treatise on Successful Childbirth and Chinese medicine in general? To answer this question, we need to compare Chinese medicine with medicine in Western Europe or North America. We also should consider what Europeans thought of Chinese medicine in general. When we survey the European medical landscape, the first thing we notice is that many different types of healing practices coexisted in eighteenth-century Europe. The various medical ideas that people drew on at this time also included techniques from China. Thus, we might surmise that European readers would probably have been intrigued by and relatively openminded about Jizhai’s book. However, at the same time, the growth of scientific medicine was changing the way that European doctors thought about childbirth. Therefore, they would have criticized Jizhai for not discussing female anatomy and the physiology of childbirth. They might also have disapproved of the idea that female midwives were still delivering babies in China. But doctors would probably have agreed with Jizhai’s basic idea that one should not interfere excessively during the process of childbirth.Read more below:

How did people use a childbirth text in 18th century China? Check out SOCIAL FUNCTION
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