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Song And Silence

Author: Sara L. M. Davis
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231509421
Size: 12.82 MB
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In the sunny, subtropical Sipsongpanna region, Tai Lues perform flirtatious, exoticized dances for an increasingly growing tourist trade. Endorsed by Chinese officials, who view the Tai Lues as a "model minority," these staged performances are part of a carefully sanctioned ethnic policy. However, behind the scenes and away from the eyes and ears of tourists and the Chinese government, a different kind of cultural resurgence is taking place. In this vivid and beautifully told ethnography, Sara L. M. Davis reveals how Tai Lues are reviving and reinventing their culture in ways that contest the official state version. Carefully avoiding government repression, Tai Lues have rebuilt Buddhist temples and made them into vital centers for the Tai community to gather, discuss their future, and express discontent. Davis also describes the resurgence of the Tai language evident in a renewed interest in epic storytelling and traditional songs as well as the popularity of Tai pop music and computer publishing projects. Throughout her work, Davis weaves together the voices of monks, singers, and activists to examine issues of cultural authenticity, the status of ethnic minorities in China, and the growing cross-border contacts among Tai Lues in China, Thailand, Burma, and Laos.

Communist Multiculturalism

Author: Susan McCarthy
Publisher: University of Washington Press
ISBN: 0295800410
Size: 67.29 MB
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The communist Chinese state promotes the distinctiveness of the many minorities within its borders. At the same time, it is vigilant in suppressing groups that threaten the nation's unity or its modernizing goals. In Communist Multiculturalism, Susan K. McCarthy examines three minority groups in the province of Yunnan, focusing on the ways in which they have adapted to the government's nationbuilding and minority nationalities policies since the 1980s. She reveals that Chinese government policy is shaped by perceptions of what constitutes an authentic cultural group and of the threat ethnic minorities may constitute to national interests. These minority groups fit no clear categories but rather are practicing both their Chinese citizenship and the revival of their distinct cultural identities. For these groups, being minority is, or can be, one way of being national. Minorities in the Chinese state face a paradox: modern, cosmopolitan, sophisticated people -- good Chinese citizens, in other words -- do not engage in unmodern behaviors. Minorities, however, are expected to engage in them.

China S Transformations

Author: Lionel M. Jensen
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN: 0742573230
Size: 20.66 MB
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This successor volume to China beyond the Headlines takes the reader even farther beyond the "front stage" to explore a China few Westerners have seen. Seeking to bridge the gap between what specialists understand and the general public believes, the contributors challenge readers to move past the usual images of China presented by the media and to think about shared problems. In an entirely new set of essays, they explore such critical issues as environmental degradation, nationalism, unemployment, film and literature, news reporting, the Internet, sex tourism, and the costs of the economic boom to vividly portray the complexity of life in contemporary China and how surprisingly often it speaks to the American experience.

Song King

Author: Levi S. Gibbs
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
ISBN: 0824876024
Size: 69.29 MB
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When itinerant singers from China’s countryside become iconic artists, worlds collide. The lives and performances of these representative singers become sites for conversations between the rural and urban, local and national, folk and elite, and traditional and modern. In Song King: Connecting People, Places, and Past in Contemporary China, Levi S. Gibbs examines the life and performances of “Folksong King of Western China” Wang Xiangrong (b. 1952) and explores how itinerant performers come to serve as representative symbols straddling different groups, connecting diverse audiences, and shifting between amorphous, place-based local, regional, and national identities. Moving from place to place, these border walkers embody connections between a range of localities, presenting audiences with traditional, modern, rural, and urban identities among which to continually reposition themselves in an evolving world. Born in a small mountain village near the intersection of the Great Wall and the Yellow River in a border region with a rich history of migration, Wang Xiangrong was exposed to a wide range of songs as a child. The songs of Wang’s youth prepared him to create a repertoire of region-representing pieces and mediate between regions, nations, and multinational corporations in national and international performances. During the course of a career that included meeting Deng Xiaoping in 1980 and running with the Olympic torch in 2008, Wang’s life, songs, and performances have come to highlight various facets of social identity in contemporary China. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with Wang and other professional folksingers from northern Shaanxi province at weddings, Chinese New Year galas, business openings, and Christmas concerts, Song King argues that songs act as public conversations people can join in on. As song kings and queens fuse personal and collective narratives in performances of iconic songs, they provide audiences with compelling models for socializing personal experience, negotiating a sense of self and group in an ever-changing world.