2014 Hsu Book Prize: Tragic Spirits

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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...]

A Conversation with Christine Yano

Christine Yano with Heidi Lam

Heidi Lam (HL): You’ve been making the rounds of the internet lately as the anthropologist who was told that Hello Kitty is not a cat.  How does that feel? Christine Yano (CY): I framed the book Pink Globalization in terms of headlines, because I’m talking about celebrity and iconicity through material and commercial culture.  And then I became a part of it.  I was terribly … [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...]

Semi-Native Anthropologist?: Fieldwork Encounters and Positionality in An Ethnic Village in Southwest China

My village hostess wearing the Buyi traditional costume and displaying batik-drawing during an annual Buyi festival. Photo courtesy of Yu Luo.

By Yu Luo (Yale University) During the initial stage of my fieldwork, I spent most of my time learning how to draw Buyi ethnic batik with my village hostess, while watching Korean idol dramas dubbed in Mandarin. Perhaps commonly seen elsewhere, this scene nonetheless does not merely represent the globalizing circulation of Korean dramas, or mass media alike, to a remote corner … [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...]

Interview with Junko Kitanaka, 2013 Hsu Book Prize Recipient

Junko Kitanaka (Keio University). Photo courtesy of Junko Kitanaka

Junko Kitanaka was awarded the 2013 Frances L.K. Hsu Book Prize for her book Depression in Japan: Psychiatric Cures for a Society in Distress. Heidi Lam: What drew you to the issue of how depression has been defined in Japan? Junko Kitanaka: Since my undergraduate days, I have always been interested in how people placed in extreme situations can still find meaning in … [Read more...]

2013 David Plath Media Award: 农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness

Video still from 农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness (2013). Courtesy of Jenny Chio.

By Jenny Chio (Emory University)  Whenever I have been lucky enough to discuss my film, 农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness, after it has been screened, I’m usually asked a series of questions about my motivation for making a film, the relationship of the film to my larger research project, whether or not life in the two villages depicted has changed, and how village residents … [Read more...]

2013 AAA Meeting Highlights

2013 Francis L.K. Hsu book prize recipients Junko Kitanaka (left) and Judith Farquhar (right) with Vanessa Fong (middle)

By Heidi Lam (Yale University) and Yi Zhou (University of California, Davis)  SEAA-Sponsored Panels The Society for East Asian Anthropology (SEAA) sponsored 23 panels at the 112th AAA Annual Meeting in Chicago. Of these panels, 12 explored topics across East Asia, 7 were China-related, 3 examined issues in Japan, and 1 engaged with scholars working in the U.S. Identity and … [Read more...]