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Ilha Formosa


Xinjiang and Islam

Readings for Unit 5: The Southwest

Unlike the three areas we have studied so far, the Southwest is not dominated by a single ethnic group or historic nation, and is not clearly divided into ethnic territories. Instead, it presents a mosaic of ethnic groups, large and small, concentrated and scattered. In the southwest, then, the idea of minzu as "nationality" is more problematic. We will look at the southwest through a combination of general articles and case studies. Most of our examples will come from Southwestern Sichuan and Northwestern Yunnan, but we will venture further afield to demonstrate the validity of our analysis for other areas of study.

Monday, May 11: Pieces of an Ethnic Mosaic

We begin by thinking back to Thomas Mullaney's discussion of ethnic classification, the chapters you read for the introduction to the class. Then we read Yan Ruxian, Marriage, Family, and Social Progress of China's Minority Nationalities, and example of the kind of ethnology that gave rise to the whole idea of minzu that still informs much of ethnic relations in the Southwest, though anthropologists aren't doing it anymore.

Then we proceed to the relationship between Naxi and Na as a case study of disputed ethnic identity. In class, I will talk about the way that the Na have been taken by some anthropologists and used to make scholarly points in disputes that have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

Wednesday, May 13: Nuosu Traditional Society and Culture

OK, here I get to dig into the ethnography of the people I know best, the Nuosu or Liangshan Yi. A whole series of articles will present a kaleidoscopic picture of their society:
  • Lu Hui, Preferential Bilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage among the Nuosu of Liangshan, in Stevan Harrell, ed., Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China. Even though anthropologists no longer learn about cross-cousin marriage, it's at the core of Nuosu social organization. Lu Hui is a cultural bureaucrat with the UN, and wrote her dissertation on Nuosu kinship.
  • Qubi Shimei and Ma Erzi, Homicide Cases in Old Liangshan, from Perspectives on the Yi. Qubi is both a bimo and a Communist Party Member, the former head of the Nationalities Commission for Liangshan Prefecture. Ma is my collaborator on a couple of other books, as well as a partner in building an elementary school. They write here about murder, but more importantly about Nuosu customary law.
  • Bamo Ayi, On the Nature and Transmission of bimo Knowledge, from Perspectives on the Yi. Bamo is collaborator with me and Ma Lunzy on another book, as well as a fieldwork collaborator. She has just published a book on the bimo.
  • Ann Maxwell Hill, Captives, Kin, and Slaves in Xiao Liangshan, Journal of Asian Studies 60, 4 (Nov 2001), 1033-1049. Hill's researches have illuminated Nuosu history from an anthropological perspective.
Monday May 18: Development
The mantra of Development, as specifically embodied in two broad government policies of "The Great Development of the West" and "The New Socialist Countryside" is having a transformative effect on the entire landscape and society of China, and for this class we examine their effects on the minority regions of the Southwest. Your primary text here is Russell Harwood's China's New Socialist Countryside, which tells the story in the Nu River Valley. Your review of this book is due Friday, May 22.

In class, I would like to present some material on Development and Environment in Chinese policy, as contrasted with Nuosu traditional ideas, show a video (Lesson 5, parts 1 and 2) interviewing two Nuosu elders about recent ecological changes, and discuss how development schemes in the Southwest reflect the Chinese communist version of development ideology. In preparation for this discussion, you might want to read Authoritarian High Modernism from James Scott's Seeing Like a State and/or Arturo Escobar's The Invention of Development.

Wednesday, May 20: Education and Migration: a new Life Cycle
The two phenomena of universal education and labor migration, both of which have become important since the 1990s, are specific aspects of development that deserve our more careful attention. Migration in its early stages is depicted graphically and tragically in Liu Shao-hua's A Precarious Rite of Passage. A more hopeful picture is presented in Harrell and Aga's Education or Migrant Labor, which however deals with a different part of Liangshan.

In class today I will tell the story of an educational experiment that we have been conducting since 1999.

Wednesday, May 27: Gender, Tourism, and Representation
One of the most prominent of social changes in minority areas of China since the 1990s has been the development of ethnic tourism. Jenny Chio's A Landscape of Travel, your last required text. The review is due on Friday, May 29.

Other really interesting things you ought to read about ethnic tourism are Margaret B. Swain's Chinese Cosmopolitanism and Eileen Walsh's From Nv Guo to Nv'er Guo, as well as Creating Modernity by Touring, which Swain and Walsh wrote together. In class we will view Jenny Chio's film, Peasant Family Happiness, and discuss whether we think tourism is a good or bad thing for the tourists and the tourees.

Friday, May 29: "Field Trip" to the East Asia Library and the Burke Museum
This optional but strongly recommended extra day will give you the opportunity to see some things you would otherwise not have the opportunity to see.

A "Miao Album" from Yunnan. Back in the introductory material to the course, you were able to read a selection from Laura Hostetler's The Art of Ethnography about "Miao Albums." The UW in fact has a very precious one in its special collections, which was collected by the intrepid explorer Joseph Rock in the 1930s. The original is locked away for safekeeping, but to our great fortune former director Chou of the East Asia Library had a professional copy made. You can't check it out, either, but I've arranged to have it available at the library for all of us to look at. We will meet at 12:30 on Friday, May 15 in the lobby of the East Asia Library on the 3rd floor of Gowen Hall, and spend 20 or 30 minutes leafing through the album's six volumes.

Nousu Collections in the Burke Museum. Then we'll mosey over to the Burke Museum, where in In 1999-2000, Bamo Qubumo, Ma Lunzy, and I curated Mountain Patterns, an exhibit of Nuosu arts, at the Burke Museum. You should first look at the recently finished web exhibit, and then read Ralph Litzinger's review of the exhibit, along with the three short articles about the exhibit written by curators Ma, Bamo, and Harrell.

As a special favor, some of the most stunning and unusual artifacts from the exhibit will be available for us to view in the museum. I will take you into the Ethnology collection storage and lab area, where I will explain the objects and you can have a look (but don't touch).