Dr Leslie de Vries on Vietnam in the Pre-Modern Period

University of Kent’s Religious Studies Department has a vibrant undergraduate programme on Asian Studies and Religious Studies. A key person that has ensured the programme’s consistent delivery of excellence is Dr Leslie de Vries, a historian of medicine and religion in East Asia.

His latest publication includes ‘Vietnam in the Pre-Modern Period‘, a chapter in the recently released Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine, edited by Vivienne Lo, Michael Stanley-Baker, and Dolly Yang.

In this piece, Dr Leslie de Vries examines how Chinese (or ‘Northern’) medicine was practised in pre-modern Vietnam during the second millennium when Vietnam was independent from China but not yet colonised by the French.  He pointed out that ‘a small but substantial amount of sources, written in Hán and representative of Chinese (or northern) medicine, dating back to the period between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries has survived, but attracted hardly any attention from English-language scholars.’ He argued that ‘the study of these texts in combination with other surviving sources, and in comparison with dynamics in medicine in other parts of East Asia… will offer more complex narratives and promises to go beyond the history of grand narratives that has dominated the field.’

The book is open access. For anyone interested in more nuanced examination on knowledge diffusion and knowledge production within Asia and within alternative medicine, the chapter can be downloaded here.