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The Asia-Pacific region has not only the greatest concentration of population but is, arguably, the future economic centre of the world. Epidemiological transition in the region is occurring much faster than it did in the West and many countries face the emerging problem of chronic diseases at the same time as they continue to grapple with communicable diseases.

This book explores how disease patterns and health problems in Asia and the Pacific, and collective responses to them, have been shaped over time by cultural, economic, social, demographic, environmental and political factors. With fourteen chapters, each devoted to a country in the region, the authors take a comparative and historical approach to the evolution of public health and preventive medicine, and offer a broader understanding of the links in a globalizing world between health on the one hand and culture, economy, polity and society on the other.

Public Health in Asia and the Pacific presents the importance of the non-medical context in the history of human disease, as well as the significance of disease in the larger histories of the region. It will appeal to scholars and policy makers in the fields of public health, the history of medicine, and those with a wider interest in the Asia-Pacific region.

This book brings the study of gender to Chinese medicine and in so doing contextualizes Chinese medicine in history. It examines the rich but neglected tradition of fuke, or medicine for women, over the seven hundred years between the Song and the end of the Ming dynasty. Using medical classics, popular handbooks, case histories, and belles lettres, it explores evolving understandings of fertility and menstruation, gestation and childbirth, sexuality, and gynecological disorders.

Furth locates medical practice in the home, where knowledge was not the monopoly of the learned physician and male doctors had to negotiate the class and gender boundaries of everyday life. Women as healers and as patients both participated in the dominant medical culture and sheltered a female sphere of expertise centered on, but not limited to, gestation and birth. Ultimately, her analysis of the relationship of language, text, and practice reaches beyond her immediate subject to address theoretical problems that arise when we look at the epistemological foundations of our knowledge of the body and its history.