China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: Our panel examines Chinese encounters and engagements with the transnational psy sciences—particularly psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychology—at various critical junctures across the twentieth century. How did Chinese psy scientists, like their counterparts in other disciplines, take the theories and practices of their fields of study, derived as these originally were from Euro-American experiences, and shape them to fit the specificities of China’s cultural traditions and political contexts? Victor Seow looks at the rise of industrial psychology in 1930s China as foreign-trained psychologists employed this relatively young branch of applied psychology to problems of work and labor in the country’s gradually growing industrial sector. Zhipeng Gao traces the emergence of a radical psychosomatic model of therapeutic care in the socialist period, noting this was a product of both Maoist volunteerism and the selective appropriation of Chinese medicine and Soviet Pavlovian neurology. Similarly working within the socialist period, Zhuyun Lin investigates the conditions that allowed for the construction of a psychiatric hospital in southern China during the Cultural Revolution, when psychiatric services were almost completely suspended across the country. Finally, focusing on the transpacific work of psychoanalyst Dai Bingham, Howard Chiang explores how Dai, who had relocated from China to the United States in 1939, folded humanistic Chinese philosophical positions into his psychotherapeutic practice, challenging assumptions of their incompatibility. Together, these papers highlight how Chinese psy scientists actively negotiated tensions across geographical and conceptual borders as they carried out their everyday work of fathoming and fixing minds.
Paper Presenter: Victor Seow – Harvard University
Paper Presenter: Zhipeng Gao – Simon Fraser University
Paper Presenter: Zhuyun Lin – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Paper Presenter: Howard Chiang – University of California, Davis