Monday, January 6, 2020

Neo Shamanism, Organ Transplants, Ayurveda, And...

Our group chose ethnomedicine for our digital poster, bringing together the topics of neo-shamanism, organ transplants in biomedical organ transplants, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In discussing potential intersectionality between our areas of interest, we quickly recognized a continuum that placed biomedicine—as a mechanistically informed approach focusing on individuals and pathologies—on one end of the spectrum, and shamanism—with its focus on the ‘unseen’ aspects of existence and the vital connection of all life forms (fig. 4)—at the other. The highly systemized nature of TCM and its emphasis on the mechanisms of physiology, pathologies and the anatomical system placed it next to biomedicine on the continuum; Ayurveda was closest to shamanism in our assessment, due to a more explicit acknowledgment of the interaction between the mental, personality and physical aspects of health. While this provided a base of compariso n, we struggled with creating a theme that could portray the idea in a meaningful way—why is this continuum from biomechanical to spiritual important? How does it impact the lives of human beings? It was upon reflection on the mind/body dichotomy that we glimpsed insight suitable for a narrative; playing on the concept of body parts (fig. 1) in light of Jonathan’s focus on transplants, Kalycia brought up Frankenstein. TCM’s theory of qi offered an analogous relationship to Dr. Frankenstein’s use of electricity in animating his

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