Interview with the 2014 Hsu Book Award Recipient Manduhai Buyandelger

  Tragic Spirits: Shamanism, Memories, and Gender in Contemporary Mongolia written by Professor  Manduhai Buyandelger (MIT) won the 2014 Hsu book Prize. Tragic Spirits illustrates how shamanism has been revived by the Buryat people in Mongolia after the collapse of socialism and the further impoverishment of this marginalized ethnic group under the pressures of … [Read more...]

Occupy between Surveillance and Transparency

An iPad was filming the occupation and broadcasting it online via video streaming technology. Photo courtesy Slipper Family.

Meichun Lee An iPad, fixed by a pair of slippers on the second floor of the Legislative Yuan (the congress of Taiwan), was shooting down the chamber with its lens. On the screen of the iPad, a big banner reading “Occupy 500 Hours” covered the bottom of the portrait of Sun Yat-Sen, the national father of Republic of China, otherwise known as Taiwan, hanging high on the wall. … [Read more...]

“Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible:” The Politics of Aesthetics and Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Movement”

Hai Ren

“Be realistic, Demand the Impossible!” is a text attached to a bike during Hong Kong’s “Umbrella Movement” (September to November 2014). BBC News comments: “It’s getting hard to tell what is art and what isn’t. Is this a mode of transport with a slogan attached, or a piece of artwork that you can ride?” (“In Pictures: Hong Kong Protest Art.” October 16, 2014. … [Read more...]

Space of Mediation: Why Do International Labor Recruiters in China Charge So Much, and Why are They Difficult to Regulate?

A recruitment fair held by a private recruitment company in Shenyang, northeast China, 2008 (by Biao Xiang)

Biao Xiang Unskilled Chinese workers pay an average of US$8,000 (including US$ 3,000 “security bond” that would be confiscated if they violate any rules) in 2010 to secure a job in Japan, Singapore and South Korea, their top three choices. The high costs of international labor migration worldwide, but especially in Asia, have recently attracted high-level policy attention. … [Read more...]

2014 Hsu Book Prize: Tragic Spirits


Tragic Spirits gives us a mesmerizing depiction of the revival of shamanism among the Buryats of Mongolia under tragic circumstances.  Facing life-threatening economic misfortunes in an era of neoliberal reform, Buryats turn to shamans to explain the causes of their hardships.  The shamans explain their clients’ bad fate in terms of neglected ancestral spirits and it is here … [Read more...]

Conference on “Visual Anthropology and Contemporary Chinese Culture”

Conference on “Visual Anthropology and Contemporary Chinese Culture”

The Minzu University of China hosted China's first conference on “Visual Anthropology and Contemporary Chinese Culture” on June 21-22 in Beijing. Anthropologists, filmmakers, and NGO representatives from America, Germany, Mainland China, and Taiwan offered diverse perspectives that sought the theoretical and practical development of visual anthropology as an important lens to … [Read more...]

The Korean Wave (Hallyu)

The Korean Wave

by Youna Kim In June 2011, Korea’s production company held its first European concert in Paris, singing for fans from France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, and so on. The company initially scheduled only one show at Le Zénith de Paris concert hall which seats about 6,000, but the tickets sold out in 15 minutes, prompting hundreds of fans to organize flash mobs in front of the … [Read more...]

The Anthropology of Confucius Institutes

CI Opera Masks

By Jennifer Hubbert ( Lewis & Clark College)In a 2010 episode entitled “Socialism Studies,” Jon Stewart of The Daily Show humorously skewered the American controversy over China’s Confucius Institutes (CIs). This episode highlighted a California resident--speaking against these Chinese government funded language and culture programs--who declares: “If it comes from … [Read more...]

Interview with the 2013 Hsu Book Award Recipient Judith Farquhar

Ten Thousand Things (Book Cover)

 Ten Thousand Things: Nurturing Life in Contemporary Beijing written by Professor Judith Farquhar (U of Chicago) and Professor Zhang Qicheng (Beijing University of Chinese Medicine) won the 2013 Hsu book prize. Yi Zhou (U of California, Davis) interviewed Prof. Farquhar about her cross-cultural collaboration with Prof. Zhang on Beijing residents' daily practice of … [Read more...]

Letter from the SEAA President

The New SEAA President Li Zhang

Greetings from warm California! It is a privilege and an honor to serve as the SEAA president. First, I want to thank all the past presidents and board members for their hard work. I am really looking forward to working with all the members of this dynamic section that I care about deeply. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself and the new columnists … [Read more...]