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WWAC to Present Talk on Chinese Medicine

On Friday, April 12, 2019, Windham World Affairs Council will present Stefan Grace, a local practitioner of Chinese medicine, who will give a talk entitled “Scientizing Chinese Medicine” in the parlor of the Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St., Brattleboro. This talk will be free and open to the public. There will be refreshments and conversation from 7:00 pm and the talk will begin at 7:30.

In this talk, Grace will offer a broad and original perspective on the development and practice of Chinese medicine from its roots in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE) to the present. Grace will show how the contemporary global practice of Chinese medicine is bound up with a modern national project, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), established in 1949, much more than its ancient-sounding name might suggest. He will show how, as a major global power grappling with maintaining both tradition and modernity, China has made profound changes in how Chinese medicine is practiced in order to serve its purposes and its socialist philosophy.

Stefan Grace’s talk will focus on the PRC’s attitudes and policies toward traditional Chinese medicine during major historical events such the Cultural Revolution, and on its attempts to harness Chinese attitudes towards traditional medicine, health, and the body for its own propaganda purposes. Grace will explain how the PRC has institutionalized the diverse body of knowledge and practice of traditional Chinese medicine into a canonical form, which is now exported, taught, and practiced around the world.

This institutionalization of Chinese medicine has resulted in a great transformation from the days of barefoot doctors to the current phenomenon of acupuncture schools, creating the perception of acupuncture as the main modality of “Chinese medicine.” It may be surprising for some to learn that traditionally acupuncture was not necessarily the major modality among other treatments. Grace will discuss these other treatments, which include herbs, manual therapy, and physical culture.

Stefan Grace is a licensed acupuncturist in independent practice in Brattleboro. He received a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from the National University for Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon in 2014.