Book ID: CBB056309488

Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences (2016)


Mukharji, Projit Bihari (Author)

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 2016
Physical Details: 387 pages
Language: English

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.

Reviewed By

Review Aparna Nair (July 2022) Review of "Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences". Technology and Culture (pp. 861-863). unapi

Review Rohan Deb Roy (2017) Review of "Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences". Bulletin of the History of Medicine (pp. 813-814). unapi

Review Mark Harrison (2018) Review of "Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences". Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (pp. 249-251). unapi

Review Martha Ann Selby (2018) Review of "Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences". Social History of Medicine (pp. 416-417). unapi

Review Sundar Sarukkai (2017) Review of "Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies, and Braided Sciences". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 935-936). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Sivaramakrishman, Kavita
Ebrahimnejad, Hormoz
Hardiman, David
Burnett, Kristin
McCarthy, Angela
Coleborne, Catharine
Social History
Health and History
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Social History of Medicine
Food, Culture and Society
Orient Longman
UBC Press
Transaction Publishers
Hong Kong University Press
Therapeutic practice; therapy; treatment
Medicine, traditional
Medicine, ayurvedic
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Ghadiali, Dinshah Pestanj
Grimmett, Leonard George
Black Elk
Finsen, Niels Ryberg
Kehl, Renato Ferraz
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
South Asia
United States
Istanbul (Turkey)

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