China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
The term “experience” frequently appears in the discussion of science and medicine in East Asia, though its meanings are often vague and ill-defined. This panel problematizes the term through historical and philosophical inquiries grounded in pre-modern China and colonial Korea. The first three papers are historical studies, which demonstrate diverse ways of articulating and practicing experience-based knowledge by scholar-officials and physicians in middle period China (Yan Liu and Yunju Chen) and in colonial Korea (James Flowers). The fourth paper by Ya Zuo is a theoretical reflection on this issue, which reveals how “experience” in pre-modern Chinese contexts differs from its Western counterpart. Taken together, we aim to achieve three goals. First, we show that the meaning of experience is contingent upon the particular domain of knowledge production (e.g., medicine) and the genre of text (e.g., formula books). Second, we demonstrate how the articulation of experience-based knowledge was shaped by the political and philosophical discourses at the time. Third, we reveal the social implications of experience, especially the different ways of producing and transmitting experience-based knowledge between cultural elites and non-elites. Through examining texts and practices from a variety of angles, the panel illuminates the rich and changing meanings of “experience” across different social and cultural spheres.