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Imagining IllnessPublic Health and Visual Culture$
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David Serlin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816648221

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816648221.001.0001

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Cultural Communication in Picturing Health

Cultural Communication in Picturing Health

W. W. Peter and Public Health Campaigns in China, 1912–1926

Chapter:
(p.24) 2. Cultural Communication in Picturing Health
Source:
Imagining Illness
Author(s):

Liping Bu

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816648221.003.0002

This chapter examines the work of W. W. Peter, an American in China who was commissioned to implement public health education campaigns during the period 1912–1926. It considers a range of visual media—from maternal and infant care exhibits installed in local markets to public demonstrations of men carrying signs or wearing sandwich boards announcing methods for keeping the household sanitary—to show how Peter transformed the content of otherwise banal and even reductive messages for local audiences in rural China and, in the process, transformed the methods by which public health information was delivered. It focuses on cultural communication in the dissemination of modern medical and health knowledge from the West to China and highlights the cultural challenge of such an endeavor. This detailed examination of the first modern public health education movement in China contributes to the scholarship on Chinese modern medicine and health.

Keywords:   public health, health education, W. W. Peter, China, visual media, health information, cultural communication, medicine

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