Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, And Braided Sciences

Paperback | October 14, 2016

byProjit Bihari Mukharji

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Like many of the traditional medicines of South Asia, Ayurvedic practice transformed dramatically in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With Doctoring Tradition, Projit Bihari Mukharji offers a close look at that recasting, upending the widely held yet little-examined belief that it was the result of the introduction of Western anatomical knowledge and cadaveric dissection.
 
Rather, Mukharji reveals, what instigated those changes were a number of small technologies that were introduced in the period by Ayurvedic physicians, men who were simultaneously Victorian gentlemen and members of a particular Bengali caste. The introduction of these devices, including thermometers, watches, and microscopes, Mukharji shows, ultimately led to a dramatic reimagining of the body. By the 1930s, there emerged a new Ayurvedic body that was marked as distinct from a biomedical body. Despite the protestations of difference, this new Ayurvedic body was largely compatible with it. The more irreconcilable elements of the old Ayurvedic body were then rendered therapeutically indefensible and impossible to imagine in practice. The new Ayurvedic medicine was the product not of an embrace of Western approaches, but of a creative attempt to develop a viable alternative to the Western tradition by braiding together elements drawn from internally diverse traditions of the West and the East.

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Like many of the traditional medicines of South Asia, Ayurvedic practice transformed dramatically in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With Doctoring Tradition, Projit Bihari Mukharji offers a close look at that recasting, upending the widely held yet little-examined belief that it was the result of the introduction o...

Projit Bihari Mukharji is the Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in History & Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, the author of Nationalizing the Body: The Market, Print and Daktari Medicine and coeditor of Medical Marginality in South Asia: Situating Subaltern Therapeutics and Crossing Colonial Historiographies: H...

other books by Projit Bihari Mukharji

Nationalizing The Body: The Medical Market, Print And Daktari Medicine
Nationalizing The Body: The Medical Market, Print And D...

Hardcover|Feb 1 2009

$131.74 online$147.95list price(save 10%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:376 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:October 14, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022638313X

ISBN - 13:9780226383132

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"Synthesizing Chinese as well as European and South Asian medical history, Mukharji persuasively demonstrates how bodily understanding and therapeutic practice dramatically transformed between 1870 and 1930 in Bengal through five cases studies of specific technologies: the pocket watch, organotherapy, the thermometer, the microscope, and the body-as-technology of the physicians themselves. Even simple medicine bottles play a significant role in this eloquent narrative on how Ayurveda became modern.”