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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of History

Degree Programs

Faculty & Staff

Hilary A. Smith

Hilary Smith

Assistant Professor
Sturm Hall 372
Phone: 303-871-2953


  • Chinese History
  • History of medicine and health

Background and Interests

My teaching and research interests lie at the intersection between Chinese history and the history of science and medicine. I am interested in how people living in very different times and cultures from our own made sense of the natural world, including their own bodies. Studying those unfamiliar perspectives can help us understand what’s peculiar about our own views, and appreciate how social, intellectual, and political circumstances inform all knowledge, even modern scientific and medical knowledge.

My research centers on changing understandings of disease in Chinese society, and on relationships between diet and health as Chinese doctors and patients have understood them. My first book, Forgotten Disease: Illnesses Transformed in Chinese Medicine, was published by Stanford University Press in 2017.

I enjoy teaching a wide range of classes, such as imperial and modern Chinese history, comparative history of medicine, and disease in world history.


PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2008