ANT 265: Contemporary Chinese Society and Culture
Fall 2008, M,W,F 10:30 - 11:20, Chambers 3084
Office Hours: M, W, 9:30-10:30 am;
T, Th 9:00-10:00 am or by appointment
This seminar examines Chinese society from the "bottom up," with an emphasis on the structure of everyday life. The course will explore current issues in Chinese society and culture by examining in detail particular ethnographic case studies from contemporary China, including a study of one of China's minority groups (this year, Tibetans). The goal of this course is to introduce you to the social and cultural issues that are facing the people who live in a rapidly-changing Chinese society. In the first week, as a class we will select two additional topics, and I will provide readings then that address these issues.
Contemporary China will be studied from the anthropological perspective - largely a "bottom-up," comparative examination of particular social processes that is presented in the form of ethnographic monographs and articles that describe everyday life in detail. Our emphasis will be on understanding how Chinese traditions and culture have shaped Chinese society today. What is uniquely Chinese in Chinese culture? How have over three thousand years of history and tradition and its recent emergence out of Maoist socialism shaped everyday life in China? How do social units like the family or practices such as life-cycle rituals give structure to Chinese society? What will China be like in the 21st century?
This semester, there will be a number of public lectures organized by the Asian Studies program that will provide an opportunity to hear the perspectives of other China specialists directly; two authors that we will read will be here at Davidson.