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Leung Gives Hume Lecture

humeOn April 17, 2013, the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University welcomed Professor Angela Ki Che Leung to deliver the 53rd Annual Edward H. Hume Memorial Lecture. Director of the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong, Professor Leung is also the Joseph Needham-Philip Mao Professor in Chinese History, Science & Civilization. She has worked on late imperial Chinese social history, and published a book on charitable organizations in the Ming-Qing period, before focusing on the social history of medicine and diseases in late imperial and modern China in the 1990s, which resulted in several publications. Leung’s current research includes the history of disease management in colonial Asia, and the construction of nutritional knowledge in modern China.

During her lecture titled “Charity, Medicine, and Religion: The Quest for Modernity in Canton (1870-1937),” Professor Leung examined the historical experience of Canton through the lens of charity halls that were established in major Chinese metropolises after the end of the Taiping Rebellion. By focusing on the changing role of these charity halls, Leung illustrated how the new hall leaders viewed themselves not only as philanthropists but also as social reformers. They used medical institutions as charitable dispensaries. The introduction of Western values, including science and technology, first by Christian missionaries, contributed to this change. By concentrating on this intriguing link, she showed how these new charity halls constituted part of a new public sphere in late nineteenth century Canton.

This annual lecture in honor of Dr. Edward H. Hume (YC 1897) is made possible by the generosity of his family and many friends. Dr. Hume devoted much of his life to working in China and elsewhere in the cause of health care and medical training.