Dr. Eric I. Karchmer



Ph.D. 2005 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Bachelor of Medicine 2000 Beijing University of Chinese Medicine
B.A. 1987 Princeton University

Areas of Research/Interest:

Medical anthropology, science studies, the politics of knowledge, Chinese medicine, China studies, colonial and postcolonial societies, history of medicine, ethnobotany


Understanding Culture, Cultural Anthropology, East Asia through Ethnography, Anthropology of the Body, Ethnobotany


Eric Karchmer's research explores recent developments in the theory and practice of Chinese medicine in China. Although contemporary doctors of Chinese medicine emphasize the 2000 year history of their practice, Dr. Karchmer's research focuses on the innovations, adaptations, and hybrid forms of contemporary practice that have been shaped by the colonial and postcolonial conditions of modern China, particularly the encounter with biomedicine. As part of his research, Dr. Karchmer spent five years studying at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, earning a Bachelor's of Medicine degree. In addition to his ethnographic interests, Dr. Karchmer has also done some research on the modern history of medicine in East Asia, tracing the emergence of national medicine traditions in late 19th and early 20th century. Dr. Karchmer is also a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine, treating patients in North Carolina for more than a decade.


2015 "Slow Medicine: How Chinese Medicine Became Efficacious Only for Chronic Conditions." In Worlds of Chinese Medicine: Historical Epistemology and Transnational Cultural Politics, Howards Hsueh (ed.).

2015  "Ancient Forumulas to Strenghten the Nation." Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity.

2013 "The Excitations and Suppressions of the Time: Locating Emotional Disorders in Modern Chinese Medicine." Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 37(1).

2010 "Chinese Medicine in Action: On the Postcoloniality of Medical Practice in China." Medical Anthropology 29(3):1-27.

2002 "Magic, Science, and Qigong in Contemporary China." In China Off Center: Mapping the Margins of the Middle Kingdom, Susan Blum and Lionel Jensen (eds.), pp. 311-322. University of Hawaii Press.

2001 "文化人类学与中医 (Cultural Anthropology and Chinese Medicine)." 北京中医药大学学报》(Beijing University of Chinese Medicine Journal) 6:4-9. (with Judith Farquhar and Lai Lili)


Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Department of Anthropology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6398

Fax: (828) 262-2982

Office address
349A Anne Belk Hall