Yujie Pu “The Female Body in Seduction and Rape in Late Imperial China”
The paper focuses on a story about female lepers and their sexual activities, about the seduction and rape of male victims as well as the similarly victimized experience of females. It starts by telling how a man is infected with leprosy by a married woman through sex. Then the man’s wife and concubines start to prey other innocent men to get them infected via sex in the belief of alleviating the husband’s illness. Absurd as it is, the story intertwines into itself the sexual transgression in an ascetic traditional society, stigmatization of female patients, and male fascination of femme fatale. In late imperial China, leprosy as an incurable and contagious disease conjured up a rumor. The contagious female lepers could be cured by sleeping with innocent men, to whom the disease is passed on. Since the sexual “treatment” was said to be effective to female patients only, the contagious female patient was considered the most dangerous of all. The story concerned was built upon this rumor. Concerning bodies as media, female and male alike, the paper aims to explore the problems revealed in the story: how both males and females suffer in those maliciously intended sex activities, how the sufferings became a chain to involve in more and more victims. This case speaks of seduction and rape as the cultural phenomena of gynophobia that eventually affect both sexes of the society. We are not free of this problem still.
Yujie Pu is a PhD candidate studying Chinese history in the department of EALC. Her dissertation project aims to explore religious, medical, literary and legal discourses regarding madness in early modern and modern China.
Xinge Zhang “Domestic Concerns and Foreign Trade: The Import and Use of Medical Knowledge of Chinese Local Gazetteers in Tokugawa Japan”
During the reign of Tokugawa Yoshimune, considerable emphasis was placed on addressing the growing economic crisis inside, driven by a large outflow of currency through foreign trade. One policy was to propel the development of domestic production, particularly medicinal drugs. In the meantime, Lord Yoshimune showed great eagerness to collect Chinese local gazetteers and a large number of them were brought to Japan by Chinese ships. Foreign trade, domestic production, and imports of gazetteers, as I will argue in this paper, were mutually connected and affected. More importantly, the great emphasis on the three aspects both promoted and was driven by the considerable interest of Tokugawa state in medicinal drugs and medical knowledge. By focusing on the efforts to gather medical knowledge and achievements of producing a corpus of diverse new knowledge, I also aim to offer some clues to deepen our understanding of the role of state in forming the information library in early modern Japan.
Xinge Zhang is a Ph.D. student of EALC at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her major is premodern Chinese history and her research centers on book culture in early Qing and circulation of medical knowledge in early modern East Asia.