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Overview

Biography

My doctoral research, funded by ESRC NINE DTP, is on the embodied experience of Feng Shui and how it is represented in different cultural contexts. Feng Shui is an ancient philosophy that originated in China some 3,000 years ago. It comprises a set of principles that governs spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to qi [氣], which refers to a vital force or energy forming any living entity. I will outline the embodied experience of qi by observing and interviewing Feng Shui practitioners. Geographers have explored the concept of ‘atmosphere’ extensively, but they have done little research on atmosphere’s East Asian counterpart qi. By studying qi through observing Feng Shui practices and embodied experience, I will 'reorient' the Eurocentric (and often theoretical and detached) perception of atmosphere. Another perception that I seek to challenge is that qi and Feng Shui are ‘esoteric.’ To further explore this stereotype, I will observe how Feng Shui and qi are perceived in Northeast England where they are often associated with New Age and holistic health beliefs. And to illustrate that this view is Eurocentric and Orientalist, I will study how Feng Shui and qi are perceived in Taiwan where they are mundane and seen in day-to-day life.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chchyen/

Education

PhD in Human Geography, Durham University, 2023-2027

Reorienting Western Theories of Atmospheres: A Case Study of Qi-Based Holistic Medicine in Taiwan and Northern England

Master of Arts in Human Geography, University of Toronto, 2022-2023

What Is Seen and What Is Silenced: Representations of Fieldwork in Atmospheric Science

Bachelor of Science With Honors in Geography, National Taiwan University, 2018-2022

Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, National Taiwan University, 2018-2022

Research interests

  • atmosphere, embodied experience, medical humanities, complementary medicine, qi

Publications