A brief history of Eastland Press
With Guest: Dan Bensky & John O'Connor
Eastland Press has been bringing books on Oriental medicine from Chinese into English since the early days of Americans studying the traditional medicine of Asia. Actually, from even before there was a market for this kind of material.
In this episode we go into the early history of Eastland Press. How what seemed like a good idea at the time turned into a multi-year endeavor and how Dan and John's dedication to “Westerner's owning our part of this long medical tradition” has kept them at the forefront of providing quality books for the practitioner of East Asian medicine.
Listen in for an entertaining and informative piece of Chinese medicine history in the West, and for a glimpse of some future offerings from Eastland Press that you'll want for your library.
In this conversation we discuss:
- It began with a miscalculation.
- It was not so easy to study Chinese medicine in the mid 70’s.
- How do you find a publisher for a book with no discernable market?
- The motivation behind the material medica and formulary books.
- What does it take to bring a book from Chinese to English in a way that is true to the material and yet readable in the target language?
- Issues of copyright in the digital age for a specialty publisher.
- Where do you see the Chinese medicine profession going from your perspective as a publisher?
- Some books from Eastland Press to watch for in the near future.
“Self-cultivation, self-knowledge and critical thinking are essential in developing capacity as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine.”
Dan Bensky & John O'Connor
Dan Bensky is a graduate of the Macau Institute of Chinese Medicine (Oriental Medicine Diploma, 1975), University of Michigan (B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature, 1978), Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (Doctor of Osteopathy, 1982), University of Washington (M.A. in Classical Chinese, 1996), and Chinese Academy of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences (Ph.D. in Discussion of Cold Damage, 2006). He contributed to the translation and editing of Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text, and to the compilation and translation of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica and Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas & Strategies. Dan is a co-founder of Eastland Press (1981), where he serves as medical editor, and of the Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine (1994). In 2008, he was awarded the Wang Dingyi Cup International Prize for contributions to Chinese medicine.
John O'Connor studied Chinese language and history at the University of Oregon (B.A., 1971), University of Illinois (M.A., 1977), Taiwan Normal University, and the University of Hong Kong. His collaboration with Dan Bensky on the translation and publication of Chinese medical books began during the course of their studies in Macau between 1973-75, and has continued with the founding of Eastland Press and the publication of Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text in 1981. John serves as managing editor of Eastland Press, and is also an attorney (J.D., Loyola School of Law, 1980).
Acupuncturist, Podcast Host
I've always been more drawn to questions than answers. And the practice of medicine seems to more lively when infused with a sense of curiosity and inquiry. It's been delight and honor to be able to discuss our medicine with so many thoughtful and skilled practitioners.