Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster
Global Genders and Sexualities
Bodies in East Asia
This project concerns the production of knowledge about the human body in modern and
contemporary East Asia. Since the mid-nineteenth century, discourses of modernity and science intimately intertwined body, nation, and empire as never before, furthering the scientification of pretty much everything. Ever more exact quantifications—ranging from considerations of males’ suitability for military service and females’ fertility cycles to the constructs of health, literacy, leisure activities, and the technologies of war-making—produced data that in turn multiplied the effective instruments for the formation and accumulation of empirical and (in many ways) imperial knowledge about human bodies.