Modernity under Cold War Division: the Liberal Humanist Imaginary and Knowledge/Affect in &Quot;Barefoot Doctor&Quot; Discourses(2/2)

Project Details


By investigating the “barefoot doctor” discourses in a transnational context, the goal of this project is tounderstand the cultural politics of liberal humanism embedded within the Cold War historical entanglementsamong US, Taiwan and China. Recognizing that transnational cultural production on the figure of the“barefoot doctor” both participates in and problematizes Cold War divisions, this project seeks to betterunderstand divergences between Taiwan and China regarding knowledge production about and affectiveinvestment in medical development. Through a cultural analysis of such discursive formations of knowledgeand affects in medical modernity, this research will 1) illuminate how capitalism and colonialism operatethrough liberal narratives of science and democracy, thereby formulating Taiwan’s medical modernizationby distinguishing itself from China within the division system; 2) explore how the post-Cold Warimagination of medical humanism transplants the “barefoot doctor” discourses into a neoliberal context forreproducing a capitalist mode of intimacy, and, at the same time, how it re-channels the critical potential ofthe socialist healthcare reforms into a liberal humanitarian practice toward Third World developingcountries. In developing a historicized analysis of these political and cultural structures of knowledge andfeeling, my study will intervene at the intersections where knowledge is sectioned off in current academicframeworks, and contribute to the current efforts to arrive at a more a theoretical and systematicunderstanding of Cold War studies and medical modernity.
Effective start/end date1/08/1831/07/19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Cold War Division System
  • Knowledge Production
  • Liberal Humanism
  • Modernity
  • Care andIntimacies
  • “Barefoot Doctor” Discourses


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