The World of Care: Managing Disability in the Qing China (1644-1911)

Weiyue Kan
UC San Diego

My dissertation, “The World of Care: Managing Disability in the Qing China (1644-1911),” investigates cultural representations of disability, state policies related to disability, and social and familial responses to disability, with particular attention to disabled people’s lived experiences and agency. In understanding disability as a personal and dynamic human experience shaped by specific late imperial social and cultural contexts, the project moves away from the victimhood narrative to explore human agency in impaired people. The project also disputes the argument that systematic care of disability is a modern production. It addresses multi-level care of disability and argues that care constructed the basic relations between disabled people and their family members, and stayed at the center of Qing social and political life; handling disability formed a significant part of the Qing discourse about imperial management.