The book Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing is an ethnographic and philosophical investigation of Beijing residents' health practices and discourses in the early 2000s. It is sophisticatedly written by two scholars from different academic traditions: Judith Farquhar, an American anthropologist based at the University of Chicago, and Qicheng Zhang, a Chinese philologist at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Their data is drawn from questionnaires, interviews, and ethnography of residents in the West City District of Beijing. In addition to this book, the collaboration between Farquhar and Zhang has yielded several journal articles in Chinese and English.

Coming from two distinct academic backgrounds, Farquhar and Zhang found their common ground in cultural traditions of self-cultivation. Yangsheng (nurturing life) is a term that Chinese people use to refer to various practices to promote one's health, including dancing in a park, practicing...

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