Panel organized by Dr. Mona Schrempf und Dr. Lena Springer, EASTmedicine Research Center, University of Westminster London

Panel organized by Dr. Mona Schrempf and Dr. Lena Springer, EASTmedicine Research Center, University of Westminster London

Asian pharmaceuticals involve a range of experiences and strategies that are challenging established ideas of efficacy and safety in health care. This panel brings together researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds who analyse the various recontextualization practices of Asian pharmaceuticals in production, circulation and prescription and their linkages. The question of ‘what works’ and ‘how’ has been dominated by hegemonic biomedical frameworks and regulations of efficacy and safety that are closely related to science, rationality, power and authority. We are interested instead in how efficacy and safety are produced and reproduced in these different contexts from both historical and ethnographic points of views – and propose to investigate the internal logics of how certain actors understand and explain how a medicine works safely.

It is our aim to reconstruct cases and therefore trace the processes how Asian pharmaceuticals are produced and prescribed locally while ideas and substances circulate transregionally. We will thus analyse the multivocality and multivalence of efficacy and safety in each assemblage of knowledge and practice, i.e. to understand local medical and pharmaceutical ways of knowledge and styles of practices, how and why they are changing, including the analysis of wider regulatory frameworks and how they impact on local historical, socio-political and medical recontextualisations of Asian pharmaceuticals.

The panel focuses on Chinese, Indian and Tibetan medicine(s) but welcomes contributions by ethnographers and historians who examine cases in South, East, South East, and Central Asia. Methodologies from science and technology studies clarify multi-layered discourses of evidence and control of quality and safety that deserve fieldwork and archival research in a comparative framework.


The Establishment of the System of Traditional Chinese Medicine Regarding Licensing and Medical Affairs Under Japanese Rule (1895-1945 A.D.) in Taiwan Dr. Pei-chi, Becky Chou, China Medical University, Taiwan

Articulating the Safety of Purified Mercury-Sulfide Ash (tsotel) in Contemporary Tibetan Medicine Dr. Barbara Gerke, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

The Effectiveness and Safety of Traditional Tibetan Medicine in the Treatment of Challenging Diseases Amchi Jamyang Drolma, Research Department, Men-Tsee-Khang, Dharamsala, India

Embattled Constructions: Problematising Hegemonic Biomedical Constructions of Safety in the Integrative Medicine Discourse Dr. Paul Kadetz, University College London, U.K.

Drug Safety Between Trust and Control: Observations on the Relationship between Tibetan Medicine and GMP Dr. Stephan Kloos, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), Austria

Assembling Diasporic Science or Making Herbs a Global Business: CGCM and the Regulatory Globalization of Chinese Medicine Dr. Wen-Hua Kuo, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan

Ethnopharmacology, Ethnoquality and Ethnobotany Aspects of the Bhutanese Form of Medicine: Concepts and Current Practices Phurpa Wangchuk, Msc, PhD candidate, University of Wolongong, Australia

'Trialling' Traditional Chinese Medicine in Australia Dr. Rey Tiquia, Msc, PhD phil., TCM practitioner, Honorary Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at University of Melbourne

Tibetan Formulas as Network Medicines – A Modern Scientific Approach to Multi-compound Formulas Dr. Herbert Schwabl, Padma AG, Switzerland

Recontextualising Tibetan Medicines in Europe Dr. Mona Schrempf, University of Westminster, U.K.

Medicinal Delicatessen: Global Circulation of Chinese Substances, and Prescribers in Sichuan Province, China Dr. Lena Springer, University of Westminster, U.K.

Tibetan Medicine(s) in Europe: Tracing the Transformations of Plants and Meanings from Their Places of Origin to the Patient-Healer Interface Jan van der Valk, PhD candidate, University of Kent, U.K.

Concepts and Current Practices of Ethnoquality in Bhutanese gSo-ba rig-pa medicine Phurpa Wangchuk, Msc, PhD candidate, University of Wolongong, Australia

Press and media enquiries

Contact us on:

[email protected]