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Conference Paper: Putting Chinese natural knowledge to work in an eighteenth-century Swiss canton: the case of Dr Laurent Garcin

TitlePutting Chinese natural knowledge to work in an eighteenth-century Swiss canton: the case of Dr Laurent Garcin
Authors
Issue Date2013
PublisheriCHSTM 2013.
Citation
The 24th International Congress of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (iCHSTM 2013), Manchester, UK., 21-28 July 2013. In Congress Programme, 2013, p. 124 How to Cite?
AbstractThis paper takes as a case study the experience of the eighteenth-century Swiss physician, Laurent Garcin (1683-1752), with Chinese medical and pharmacological knowledge. A Neuchâtel bourgeois of Huguenot origin, who studied in Leiden with Hermann Boerhaave, Garcin spent nine years (1720-1729) in South and Southeast Asia as a surgeon in the service of the Dutch East India Company. Upon his return to Neuchâtel in 1739 he became primus inter pares in the small local community of physician-botanists, introducing them to the artificial sexual system of classification. He practiced medicine, incorporating treatments acquired during his travels. taught botany, collected rare plants for major botanical gardens, and contributed to the Journal Helvetique on a range of topics; he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, where two of his papers were read in translation and published in the Philosophical Transactions; one of these concerned the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), leading Linnaeus to name the genus Garcinia after Garcin. He was likewise consulted as an expert on the East Indies, exotic flora, and medicines, and contributed to important publications on these topics. During his time with the Dutch East India Company Garcin encountered Chinese medical practitioners whose work he evaluated favourably as being on a par with that of the Brahmin physicians, whom he particularly esteemed. Yet Garcin never went to China, basing his entire experience of Chinese medical practice on what he witnessed in the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia (the ‘East Indies’). This case demonstrates that there were myriad routes to Europeans developing an understanding of Chinese natural knowledge; the Chinese diaspora also afforded a valuable opportunity for comparisons of its knowledge and practice with other non-European bodies of medical and natural (e.g. pharmacological) knowledge.
DescriptionSymposium: S048 - Putting Chinese natural knowledge to work in the long eighteenth century
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188214

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorCook, Aen_US
dc.date.accessioned2013-08-21T07:45:36Z-
dc.date.available2013-08-21T07:45:36Z-
dc.date.issued2013en_US
dc.identifier.citationThe 24th International Congress of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (iCHSTM 2013), Manchester, UK., 21-28 July 2013. In Congress Programme, 2013, p. 124en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188214-
dc.descriptionSymposium: S048 - Putting Chinese natural knowledge to work in the long eighteenth century-
dc.description.abstractThis paper takes as a case study the experience of the eighteenth-century Swiss physician, Laurent Garcin (1683-1752), with Chinese medical and pharmacological knowledge. A Neuchâtel bourgeois of Huguenot origin, who studied in Leiden with Hermann Boerhaave, Garcin spent nine years (1720-1729) in South and Southeast Asia as a surgeon in the service of the Dutch East India Company. Upon his return to Neuchâtel in 1739 he became primus inter pares in the small local community of physician-botanists, introducing them to the artificial sexual system of classification. He practiced medicine, incorporating treatments acquired during his travels. taught botany, collected rare plants for major botanical gardens, and contributed to the Journal Helvetique on a range of topics; he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, where two of his papers were read in translation and published in the Philosophical Transactions; one of these concerned the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), leading Linnaeus to name the genus Garcinia after Garcin. He was likewise consulted as an expert on the East Indies, exotic flora, and medicines, and contributed to important publications on these topics. During his time with the Dutch East India Company Garcin encountered Chinese medical practitioners whose work he evaluated favourably as being on a par with that of the Brahmin physicians, whom he particularly esteemed. Yet Garcin never went to China, basing his entire experience of Chinese medical practice on what he witnessed in the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia (the ‘East Indies’). This case demonstrates that there were myriad routes to Europeans developing an understanding of Chinese natural knowledge; the Chinese diaspora also afforded a valuable opportunity for comparisons of its knowledge and practice with other non-European bodies of medical and natural (e.g. pharmacological) knowledge.-
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisheriCHSTM 2013.-
dc.relation.ispartofInternational Congress of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, ICHSTM 2013en_US
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titlePutting Chinese natural knowledge to work in an eighteenth-century Swiss canton: the case of Dr Laurent Garcinen_US
dc.typeConference_Paperen_US
dc.identifier.emailCook, A: cookga@hkucc.hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authorityCook, A=rp01219en_US
dc.description.naturepostprint-
dc.identifier.hkuros215224en_US
dc.identifier.hkuros220002-
dc.identifier.spage124-
dc.identifier.epage124-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdom-

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