Bonnie Wong

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Berkeley, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9766

Approve Date

October 24, 2018

Project Title

Wong, Bonnie O., U. of California, Berkeley, CA - To aid research on 'Same, But Different: Surgical Practice in the Making of Chinese Modernity,' supervised by Dr. Aihwa Ong

Preliminary abstract: My research analyzes how comparisons between situated practices of surgery and idealized norms of global surgery are mobilized to reinvent surgical practice and enact narratives of modernity. My proposed project is a year-long ethnographic study of abdominal surgeons at West China Hospital in Chengdu, where their pre-eminence attracts patients from neighboring provinces and researchers from all over the world. This project will show how surgeons and trainees learn and are evaluated against a supposed global standard of surgery, how practical and structural innovations arise in reaction to tensions of surgical practice, and how differences in surgical practice are mobilized to project new forms of modernity. To do so, I will collect evidence via participant-observation, interviews with surgeons, surgical trainees, patients, and hospital administrators, as well as the analysis of evaluations, media, and published documents regarding surgical practice at West China Hospital. This project examines the development of surgical practice in modern China within a period of dynamic economic, social, and political change, seeking to understand both Chinese modernization and the global ambitions of a surgical practice informed by the bodies, histories, and values through which it is performed. By attuning to surgical practice as a space of national identity-making where so-called ‘Chinese,’ ‘Western,’ or ‘global’ forms are reinterpreted, this project attends to the interconnections between bodies, practices, and worlds.