The Polyphony Meets China

About the Project

The Polyphony Meets China is a collaborative project between the Narrative Medicine Research Centre (NMRC) at Southern Medical University (SMU) and Durham University’s Institute for Medical Humanities. The project is spearheaded by associate editor Nicole Xuan Chen.

This project aims to provoke and catalyse reflections on core critical humanities concepts and ideas in both English and Chinese contexts and to stimulate cross-cultural exchanges. Specifically, the project produces two forms of engagement:

  • Translated Polyphony articles for audiences in China
  • Featured articles that explore such issues as medicine, health and illness in the sociocultural context of China as well as Chinese cultural heritage

The project also produces a “World Health Day and Disease Day” column on The Polyphony main site. This column publishes articles that highlight the Chinese philosophy in narrative medicine and stories that bring insights into Chinese healthcare and societal wellbeing.

Vision and Ethos

The Polyphony Meets China is driven by the goal of raising awareness in China of specific diseases and bodily conditions that are stigmatised or poorly understood in Chinese society. Through this project, we hope to challenge stereotypes of marginalised voices and identities in dominant discourses and contribute to breaking the silence around taboo health concerns.

The project supports health humanities researchers and healthcare practitioners from or working on under-represented cultures in building their own voice and increasing their visibility in the international arena of medical humanities. It does this through its contribution to The Polyphony’s broader “Intercultural Dialogue Dispatch” emerging theme. The Intercultural Dialogue theme invites guests from different cultural and national backgrounds to critically examine the centrality of medical humanities in the UK and North America.

The Polyphony Meets China upholds The Polyphony’s ongoing vision to challenge the predominance of English-language scholarship as the key positioning of the medical humanities discipline.

Featured Articles

October 2022

– Antje Richter, “Illness Narratives in a Fourth-Century Chinese Correspondence” (20 Oct)

– Jin Meng, “My Unexpected Experience of Childbirth” (18 Oct)

November 2022

– Xiao-Yang Gu, “Two Diabetes Cases in 1920s China” (18 Nov)

– Nicole Xuan Chen & Xiao-lin Yang, “Narrative Medicine & Hospice Doulas in China” (14 Nov)

January 2023

Dawn-joy Leong, A Gift of Wellbeing from the Autism Spectrum” (19 Jan)

February 2023

– Cat Chong, “Writing My Way Out: A Poetics of Illness and Disability” (28 Feb)

March 2023

– Brigitte Steger, “Embodied Vulnerability: Securing Sleep at Japanese Tsunami Shelters” (15 Mar)

Articles in Chinese

31/07: The Polyphony Meets China Launching News article

03/08: Graphical medicine and medical education

13/08: End-of-life care

21/08: Illness narrative

24/08: Disability narrative

02/09: Neurodiversity and autistic narrative

27/02: MSc in Medical Humanities: Analysis of Medical Humanities Teaching Module