Thesis ID: CBB606552927

Americanized and Localized Biomedicine in Postwar Taiwan, 1940s-1980s (2023)


Taiwan’s postwar medicine has been described as “Americanized medicine.” How “American was the “Americanization” of Taiwanese medicine? This research intends to explore biomedicine’s internal cultural diversity in the history of medicine in postwar Taiwan (the 1940s-1980s). This period was known as the history of American Aid to the Taiwanese because American aid was the primary foreign aid pouring into multiple aspects of postwar Taiwan’s development. Part of the aid was invested in improving Taiwanese health and transforming Taiwan’s existing medicine into “American-style medicine.” Nevertheless, what are the meanings of “American-Style” medicine to medical practitioners, especially for the doctors trained under Japanese rule? What is the relationship between American medical knowledge and technology with medical practice? Histories address that Taiwan’s medicine was “Americanized” post-American aid period. However, looking at Taiwan’s medicine today, one would realize it has walked into a different path from American medicine. Studies have demonstrated the American influence on Taiwanese health and medicine. Current studies on the history of American aid to Taiwan’s medicine establish that American aid introduced American-Style medicine and played a crucial role in advancing Taiwan’s medical development since the postwar and reshaping Taiwan’s existing Japanese colonial medicine. This dissertation intends to explore how biomedicine is entangled with Taiwan’s society, culture, and postwar international politics through the perception and practice of biomedical knowledge and localized biomedicine. Medical anthropologists have pointed out that the development of science, technology, and medicine is embedded and interacts with society and culture. Biomedicine is neither natural nor universal and is continually adjusting in different cultures, contexts, and medical settings. Historical studies of culture and medicine are often erected around a binary where “traditional” medicines show cultural diversity, and “biomedicine” is monolithic and highly reified. By combing through the relevant archival files, newspapers, Taiwanese doctors’ writings, and journal articles, this dissertation demonstrates the complexity of localized medicine in Taiwan, which is incorporated with thoughts and social values that could originate from different cultures and politics.

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Authors & Contributors
Anderson, Warwick H.
Chiang, Howard Hsueh-Hao
Cordova, Isabel M.
Fan, Yanqiu
Gemelli, Giuliana
Halpern, Sydney A.
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Social Studies of Science
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Cold War History
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Harvard University
Yale University
University of Texas Press
University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy
Yale University Press
Cancer; tumors
Cold War
Public health
Physicians; doctors
Henderson, Lawrence Joseph
Levi, Giuseppe
Mao, Zedong
Stern, Domenico Rigoni
Warren, Kenneth S.
John F. Kennedy
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
United States
Harvard University
Rockefeller Foundation
University of Massachusetts

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