Religious Studies

profile image for Dr Leslie de Vries

Dr Leslie de Vries

Lecturer in East Asian Studies


Office: Cornwallis West CG38a

Office Hours: Friday 14.00-15.00


I am a historian of medicine and religion, focusing on cosmology, the body, self-cultivation and therapy in East Asia.
After graduating with an MA in Oriental Languages and Cultures (majoring in Japanese Studies) at Ghent University, and triggered by experiences with Daoist inspired martial arts, health practices and internal alchemy at China Arts College (Antwerp), I continued my studies at Zhejiang University in China. Back in Belgium, I taught Chinese and Japanese language and culture at Ghent University, where I also earned my doctoral degree with a dissertation on the Ming dynasty doctor Zhao Xianke. From 2013 to 2015, I was a Research Fellow in the project 'Beyond Tradition: Ways of Knowing and Styles of Practice in East Asian Medicines, 1000 to the Present' (funded by the Wellcome Trust, PI Prof Volker Scheid) at the University of Westminster. In that period, I started to shift my research focus towards Vietnam. Today, I am one of the very few scholars who researches pre-modern Vietnamese medicine.

Being an active member of a growing community of scholars of Asian medicines, I co-organised the international workshop “Comparative Perspectives on Body Materiality and Structure in the History of Sinitic and East Asian Medicines” at the University of Michigan (2015). I also act as Book Review Editor (China) for Asian Medicine: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

de Vries, L. (2015). The Dangers of 'Warming and Replenishing' (wenbu) during the Ming to Qing Epistemic Transition. Asian Medicine [Online] 10:90-120. Available at:
de Vries, L. (2014). The Authentic Person as Ideal for the Late Ming Dynasty Physician: Daoist Inner Alchemy in Zhang Jiebin's Commentary on the Huangdi neijing. Synthesis Philosophica [Online] 29:63-82. Available at:
Book section
de Vries, L. (2017). The ??ng Nhân Pagoda and the Publication of Mister Lazy's Medical Encyclopedia. in: Salguero, C. P. ed. Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Premodern Sources. Columbia University Press. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 3 [See all in KAR]
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I teach modules on East Asian religions, philosophy, culture and medical humanities.

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Religious Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Religious Studies

Last Updated: 07/02/2019