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CCCI Lecture Series Fall 2017

Mondays, 4:30pm, Goldwin Smith Hall G64, Kaufman Auditorium
GUOLONG LAI
Guolong Lai

Associate Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology, University of Florida

September 11, 2017

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"The Rise of 'National Heritage' in Modern China"

As a national cultural policy, heritage preservation was introduced into China from the West as part of the modernizing efforts under the late Qing dynasty. In fact, the very concept of “national heritage” emerged with modernity, which in turn compelled the changes in how cultural heritage was conceived and what measures were taken to conserve it. In this talk professor Lai traces the process of the transformation of cultural property from imperial and mostly private possessions in late imperial China to public monuments and state-owned “national heritage” of the Republic and the People’s Republic China through the use of state legislations and administrative orders. In particular, he focuses on several important legislative documents on cultural heritage in the first three decades of the 20th century, which set up the basic legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage in modern China.

 

THOMAS DUBOIS
Thomas DuBois

Historian of Chinese Religion and Society, Australian National University

September 18, 2017

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"China's dairy century: Making, drinking and dreaming of milk"

China’s dairy industry has of late become big news. A country that few would have instinctively associated with milk has emerged as the world’s third largest producer (following India and the United States), and second largest consumer of dairy. But the significance of dairy in China is not merely one of aggregate industry size, nor is its emergence a wholly recent phenomenon. Milk was not a major theme in China’s twentieth century, but it was a surprisingly persistent one. Looking back, one will see peaks of interest—a new dairy here, milk safety scandal there, and images of happy, milk-fed babies throughout. But do these very different sorts of events constitute a single story? This presentation examines China’s century of dairy as three distinct processes—production, consumption and culture—discussing each according to its own sources, standards and logic. Besides introducing the vital transformation of China's animal industries, this talk aims to introduce some new ways to think about how we make, consume and think about food.

Additional Resources:DuBois' current work on animal industries is supported by the History and Anthropology Project at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The first paper from this project recently appeared in The Asia-Pacific Journal: http://apjjf.org/2017/17/DuBois.html.

YUNXIANG YAN
Yunxiang Yan

Professor of Social Anthropology, UCLA

September 25, 2017

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"The Rise of Neo-Familism in Contemporary China"

Based on evidence drawn from longitudinal fieldwork over three decades and secondary literature, the present study unpacks the complex connections among the new pattern of intergenerational relations, the redefinition of filial piety and the rise of neo-familism in contemporary Chinese society.  Remarkable developments include the increasing importance of parents-children axis in family relations, the surge of intergenerational intimacy, the renewed primacy of the family in public life, and the trend of descending familism in which the focal point of resource allocation, emotional attachment, and life aspiration in the family has shifted from glorifying the ancestors to raising the perfect child.  Consequently, the family institution has been further privatized, the individual has exercised more agency in the working of family relations, and yet the individualization process has taken a collectivist twist.

JIA-CHING CHEN
Jia-Ching Chen

Assistant Professor of Global Studies, UC Santa Barbara

October 2, 2017

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"Urbanization as Environmental Change: Planning and Dispossession in Contemporary China" 

China's unprecedented urban growth has captured the attention of international media and scholars alike. However, contrary to widespread dystopian impressions of endless urban agglomeration, this talk will examine the city within a broader context of environmental change and governance. Drawing upon ethnographic and archival research and spatial analysis, professor Chen will argue that China's urbanization poses unaccounted-for social and environmental dilemmas. Moreover, the planned environmental change of this scale presents a puzzle about China’s current development transition. Namely, land dispossession is the single leading source of discontent in China today, and yet it is also the fundamental basis of national development policy. To examine this tension, the talk is structured around two perspectives. First, the increasing policy emphasis on spatial planning for environmental governance, from individual villages to the national territory. Second, the everyday experiences of dispossessed villagers reveals how environmental landscape change is itself a political tool of maintaining consent to party-state rule.

WASANA WONGSURAWAT
Wasana Wongsurawat

Assistant Professor of History, Chulalongkorn University

October 16, 2017

"Nationalizing the Diaspora Identity in the China Rising Century"

The status of the ethnic Chinese in Thailand has seen enormous transformations over the past thirty years. From a severely persecuted minority amidst the Red Scare of the Cold War era, to the leading royalist nationalist business alliance of the conservative ruling class, to becoming the vanguard of Sino-Thai economic partnership in the age of One Belt One Road. The representation of Chinese-ness of the ethnic Chinese communities in Thailand have also been markedly transformed from the end of the Cold War era to the China Rising century. Ethnic Chinese museums have gone from the hyper-royalist Yaowaraj Heritage Center in Bangkok Chinatown to the business oriented and overtly pro-PRC Confucius Museum in the Northeastern red-shirt-capital of Udon Thani. The enormous influx of Mainland Chinese since the dawn of the new millennium has also completely transformed the landscape of Thai tourism and the marketing of Thai identity. Diaspora Chinese cultural heritage has overtaken traditional Hindu-Buddhist ones in some major tourist destinations. The province of Suphanburi, which had been the heartland of Dvaravati Hindu-Buddhist Thai-ness through much of the 20th century, is one major example. The old Hindu City Pillar Shrine had been renovated as a Chinese-style shrine completed with a gigantic dragon museum and a so-called traditional Chinese village within its grounds. These phenomena not only clearly reflect a shifting stance of the Thai ruling powers from the Thai-US alliance during the Cold War to a Thai-PRC alliance in the post-democratic era, but also suggest a fundamental change in the identity of ethnic Chinese Communities in Mainland Southeast Asia away from localized dialect groups to a more unified nationally identified as socio-cultural extensions of the rising Chinese empire of the 21st century.

HOWARD FRENCH
Howard French

Professor of Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

October 23, 2017

"Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power"

Professor French will discuss how patterns of Chinese interactions with nearby cultures throughout the long dynastic era have shaped present-day Chinese reflexes and expectations in dealing with other countries. He will speak, in particular, to the influence of the so-called tribute system, about the impact of modern Chinese nationalism and of a carefully cultivated sense of resentment toward other powers. The talk will conclude with a discussion of how these factors affect US-China relations, and with the author's sense of how great power relations may develop in the next decade or two.

LI ZHANG
Li Zhang

Professor of Anthropology, UC Davis

November 6, 2017

"Cultivating A Therapeutic Self in Urban China"

Facing intensified market competition and rapid social change, many Chinese are experiencing increased mental distress. In this talk, professor Zhang examines how psychological training and interventions play a vital part in cultivating a new self among urban middle-classes. She asks how the Chinese notion, ziwo (自我; self), is turned into an object of intense inquiry and how therapeutic techniques are deployed for self-development. The new forms of the self however continue to intersect with and complicate the existing social nexus, cultural sensibilities, and notions of personhood. Professor Zhang's ethnography explores how this therapeutic work contributes to intricate forms of subject-making that challenge such conceptual binaries as the private versus social self, the inner versus outer life, psychological versus social problems. While this “inner revolution” is giving rise to a profitable self-care industry and bears certain neoliberal traits, it also dovetails with the state’s project of building a “harmonious society” for conflict reduction.

KEVIN CARRICO
Kevin Carrico

Lecturer of Chinese Studies, Macquarie University

November 13, 2017

"Reimagining the Real China: Dilemmas (and Solutions) of Han-ness and Tradition in China Today"

What, when, and where is the “real China”? According to a growing group of young people in cities across the country, the real China is not to be found in the reality of the present. Instead of the now familiar images of skyscrapers, high-speed trains, new fashion, and globalization, the groups discussed in this talk envision courtyard homes, sacred rituals, traditional robes, and a homogenizing ethnic purity as embodying the proper essence of China, an eternal “land of rites and etiquette.” Drawing upon ethnographic research conducted with members of the Han Clothing Movement and traditionalist educational associations in the Pearl River Delta and beyond published in the recent book The Great Han: Race, Nationalism, and Tradition in China Today, this talk examines the rise of social movements dedicated to a fundamentally conservative and homogenizing vision of Chineseness within an increasingly complex society. What are these ethno-traditionalist movements’ main ideals, objectives, and practices? Why have they emerged at this historical moment? Who joins these movements, and what do they derive from their involvement? Yet most importantly, is their essentialist “real China” of the past any more real than the present? And what are the repercussions of these tensions between reality and imagining, or between actuality and ideals, in the experience of national identity in general?