The Chinese Body in Pain
American Missionary Medical Care, 1838–1852
This chapter discusses the medical archive collected by an American doctor, Peter Parker, who between 1835 and the mid‐1850s operated the first and most successful Western medical missionary hospital in China. Through readings of Parker's case studies, the paintings by Lam Qua of his patients, and a box of “urinary calculi” (that is, kidney stones) that he brought back with him from China, this chapter both establishes the importance of Parker's example as an expression of Western sympathy and of overcoming of moral distance and argues that Parker's archive in some sense exceeds the historical context to which we might wish to assign it, thereby indicating something of the internal limits of sympathy as a philosophical problem and the external limits imposed on a sympathy for the Chinese by the two Opium Wars.
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