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Dr Xiurong Zhao

From October 2005 through April 2006, Dr Xiurong Zhao of Renmin University of China will be a visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of Medicine. Dr Zhao received her PhD from the Department of History at Beijing Capital Normal University in 2000. She has published extensively on the subject of early modern England, including her book A Study of Business and Merchants of England, 1500-1700 (Social Science and Documentation Publishing House, 2004).

While at Warwick Dr Zhao will be working on a project entitled 'The Conflict Between Commercialism and Humanism in Medical History in Western Countries.' The conflict between commercialism and humanism is not new in the history of medicine, but as China is fast moving towards a market economy, the subject is of great interest there where a number of problems in the medical care system have aroused much dissatisfaction among the public.

Historically, the conflict as it appeared in western countries was never really resolved, however the humanitarian elements succeeded in restricting the profit-oriented trend in the medical care system, leading to a balance between commercialism and humanism. An investigation into the history of medicine in western countries will shed light on the current reform of the Chinese medical care system, and help find a better way to address its problems.

Dr Zhao’s research will focus on four major areas: 1) The influence of Capitalism on medical care systems; 2) Humanitarian tragedies caused by profit-driven actions; 3) The role of religion, society and government in nurturing Humanism; 4) Was there ever a balance between commercialism and humanitarianism, and if there was, how was it achieved?