HIST 239: History of Chinese Medicine

Readers needed: Interest in medicine and professional background in at least one of the following: (1) history, (2) medicine, or (3) Chinese studies in fields such as anthropology, sociology, or cultural studies.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information:

Instructor: Prof. Nicole Barnes

This course introduces students to the history of medicine through the study of medical practices and beliefs in China. Paying close attention to socio-historical context, we will explore how those beliefs formed, how the practices have changed over time, and in particular how the introduction of scientific biomedicine forced fundamental changes in Chinese medicine over the course of the twentieth century. This course also introduces students to the discipline of History, and students will work in close consultation with the professor to produce a unique research paper. History majors should take a Gateway Seminar first, but there are no official prerequisites.

Student Writing Assignment:

What are students writing? Journal article in history.


Here are the deadlines for students and readers as they pertain to the Reader Project:

  • Sign-up deadline: Jan 30 (Students, if you’d like to participate in the Duke Reader Project, you must sign up by this date).
  • Intro Meeting: Students schedule with your reader no later than Feb 28.
  • 1st draft due: March 27 (discuss with reader between March 20-April 3)
  • 2nd draft due: April 12 (discuss with reader between April 7-24)
  • Final version due: April 30

Giving Feedback (general information that will apply to most courses):

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More