Magic Bullet:
Tracing the Historical & Cultural Trajectories of Antimicrobial Resistance in China,
1920-present



A National Endowment for the Humanities funded project

Antimicrobial resistance poses a global threat to population health. China has one of the highest caseloads of antimicrobial resistance in the world. This project, based at Saint Vincent College, will delineate the historical sociocultural trajectories that have resulted in antimicrobial resistance in China. Researchers from the fields of public health, history, medical anthropology, and sinology will work together to better understand the sociocultural factors that have led to current antimicrobial resistance in China. By identifying the factors involved in antimicrobial resistance in China, we seek to develop a methodology for identifying factors for antimicrobial resistance in other contexts, and thereby, potentially, prevent or reduce antimicrobial resistance.

Project Team (in alphabetical order)

Peter Braden, PhD (c)
Peter Braden is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of California, San Diego. His dissertation, "Serve the People: Bovine Experiences in China's Civil War and Revolution, 1935-1961" shows how nonhuman animals experienced the economic and political changes of that tumultuous period. He has also written on weather modification and forestry in the People's Republic of China. His next project is an environmental and cultural history of bomb shelters during China's Cold War.

Therese Hesketh, MB.ChB, DCH, MRCPCH, MPH, MFPH, PhD
Thérèse Hesketh is Professor of Global Health at University College London (UCL) and is Director of the Centre of Global Health at Zhejiang University. She trained in paediatrics and public health in the UK. Has worked as a clinician, educator and manager in several countries, including China, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Tanzania, and Uganda. She has worked for UNICEF, the WHO and international NGOs. In recent years her focus has been on research in China, where she has specialised in conducting large epidemiological studies, and interventions across a range of population health topics. Her ongoing research in China includes: the knowledge and understanding of ageing and dementia, the ethnography of caring of family members with dementia, an intervention to reduce depression and improve coping skills in carers of family members with dementia, measurement of mental health outcomes in adolescents, and prevalence and risk factors for intimate partner violence. Recently she has started a health research collaboration focusing on child survival in Mali.

Tina Johnson, PhD, MPH
Dr. Tina Phillips Johnson is Professor of History at Saint Vincent College and Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center. She has over twenty years of experience researching modern China, and she has given dozens of lectures worldwide and published numerous articles and book chapters on twentieth-century Chinese history. She is a long-standing member of the Association for Asian Studies and ASIANETwork, and is a board member of the Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies. Dr. Johnson’s main interests are in the intersection of medical knowledge paradigms and shifting concepts about health, illness, the body, and gender. Dr. Johnson’s research on early twentieth-century midwifery culminated in the book Childbirth in Republican China: Delivering Modernity (Lexington Books, a division of Rowman and Littlefield) in 2011. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and is the recipient of many grants for her applied public health work as well as for her historical research. Her latest project is a biographical book manuscript examining women’s health in twentieth-century China. She speaks and reads Chinese.

Paul Kadetz, DPhil, MPH, MSN, MSOM, RN, LAc.
Paul is the Deputy Director of the Center for Global Health at Zhejiang University in China. He is also an associate of The China Centre for Health and Humanity at University College London. Paul has conducted research in China (on antimicrobial resistance), in Madagascar (on impacts of Sino-African Health Diplomacy), in Guatemala (on food insecurity and chronic malnutrition among the Mayans), and in the Philippines (on healthcare integration). He has published extensively in the areas of global health and medical anthropology.. His co-edited volume: "The Handbook of Welfare in China" and his co-authored volume: "Creating Katrina, Rebuilding Resilience: Lessons from New Orleans on Vulnerability and Resiliency" were recently published. He serves as the Co-Editor-in Chief of the forthcoming "Encyclopedia of Health Humanities", which will be published by Springer.

Michael Shiyung Liu, PhD
Michael Shiyung Liu, Distinguished Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and Research Fellow, Barbra Bates Center, University of Pennsylvania, USA, and former Re-search Fellow of Academia Sinica in Taiwan. I received Ph.D. from Pitt in 2000 and host-ed the Research Program of the History of Hygiene in Academia Sinica till the transfer to current positions. I am the author of Katana and Lancet (in Chinese, 2012, NTU) and Prescribing Colonization (2009, AAS) along with book chapters and articles on Japanese colonial medicine and modern history of public health, environmental history in East Asia. I am currently working on two book projects, “The cold war medicine in East Asia” and “Rethinking colonial medicine in East Asia”. Both projects intertwine the continuity and disruption from the colonial medicine to international coordination of medical aids and quarantine in post-WWII East Asia, a location could be an origin of the concept of “global health”.

Christos Lynteris, PhD
Christos Lynteris is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, UK. A medical anthropologist investigating epistemological, biopolitical, and aesthetic aspects of infectious disease epidemics, he was the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant for the project Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic (University of Cambridge/University of St Andrews 2013-18) and is currently the PI of the Wellcome Investigator Award “The Global War Against Rats and the Epistemic Emergence of Zoonosis (University of St Andrews 2019-24). He is the author of four monographs on medical history and medical anthropology, most recently Sulphuric Utopias: A History of Maritime Sanitation (MIT Press, 2020), co-authored with Lukas Engelmann.

Flyer for NEH forum with Speakers