Lan A. Li

Lan Li is a historian of the body and filmmaker. Li received her PhD in History, Anthropology, and Science Technology and Society Studies from MIT in 2016. There, she explored a comparative history of body mapping among practitioners in China and Britain throughout the twentieth century. Lan is also a filmmaker, producing short films about medicine and health among immigrant communities in the United States. During her free time, Lan plays the guzheng, a 21-stringed Chinese zither. 

As a Presidential Scholar, Lan focused on developing a comparative history of numbness. She was particularly interested in how representations of peripheral sensation through hand-drawn maps cohered and conflicted with different perceptions of health and disease. Her collaborations included projects on nerve damage, aging, and pain. She is an assistant professor in the Department of the History of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Project Title

Comparative Histories of Touch and Numbness

Eugenia Lean
Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University

Martin Picard
Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine, Columbia University

Kathryn Tabb
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University

Numbing Aesthetics: Taste and Tempers of Peppercorn
Gastronomica, 2020

Medical Poetics: Representing Global Health Humanities and the Case of 心
The Routledge Companion to Health Humanities, 2020

Pinpricks: Needling, Numbness, and Temporalities of Pain
Progress in Brain Research, 2018

Invisible Bodies
Asian Medicine, 2018