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Posts from the ‘Heritage Policy’ Category

3-2-1 Launch! Material Culture and Heritage Studies Laboratory

The pandemic slows all work beyond bare necessity, but good things can happen amid the difficulties of the present. Over the summer, with a small but mighty crew and some generous grants-in-hand, I did what the sailors call a shakedown cruise for the new Material Culture and Heritage Studies Laboratory that I founded at summer’s start. With great helpers, it was fun to return to research that had been set aside in 2012 when my MMWC era began. I am thankful for those organizations investing in this new work and for those colleagues and friends encouraging and participating in it. Last Friday the lab’s website launched bringing the quiet phase to an end. Check out the new website here: https://mchslab.folklore.indiana.edu/index.html  

A screenshot from the MSHSL website. The image is of Tongle as viewed across a rice paddy from Zhiacong Village in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Thanks to all who have helped!

“Innovation, Habitus, and Heritage”: A New Paper Out Now in JFR

Hi all. I am happy to note that a new paper, co-authored with Johannes Müske and Lijun Zhang, has just been published in the Journal of Folklore Research. I will try to find ways to share a version of it outside the paywall. For now (for those with interest and access) here are the Project MUSE and JSTOR versions.

Jackson, Jason Baird, Johannes Müske, and Lijun Zhang. “Innovation, Habitus, and Heritage: Modeling the Careers of Cultural Forms Through Time.” Journal of Folklore Research 57, no. 1 (2020): 111-136. https://www.muse.jhu.edu/article/751220.

Jackson, Jason Baird, Johannes Müske, and Lijun Zhang. “Innovation, Habitus, and Heritage: Modeling the Careers of Cultural Forms Through Time.” Journal of Folklore Research 57, no. 1 (2020): 111-36. Accessed March 14, 2020. doi:10.2979/jfolkrese.57.1.04.

My co-authors want to share our appreciation for the editorial staff, peer-reviewers, and audiences who helped make this paper possible. For anyone interested, I paste the abstracts below (look before the page one image):

Page One JPEG
Abstract

Since the 1990s, folklorists have become more deliberate in their use of the concept of heritage, with the term now standing at the center of our theoretical and policy debates. Heritage is both a phenomenon in the world that folklorists think about and a concept that we think with. In this article we build on classic and recent work, presenting an ideal type model of heritage that locates it within the flow of time and in relationship to other modes of culture—particularly innovation and normative culture or, in a somewhat different framework, habitus. The heuristic offered emphasizes the different degrees of metacultural salience characteristic of a cultural form in a particular social, cultural, and historical context and aims to supplement critical perspectives that are particularly focused on formal heritage policies.

Abstract

Seit den 1990er Jahren wird das Konzept Kulturerbe in den volkskundlichen Kulturwissenschaften zuneh-mend reflektiert. Der Begriff ist zentral für heutige Theorie- und Policy-Debatten im Fach: Kulturerbe ist sowohl ein Phänomen über das als auch ein Konzept mit dem KulturwissenschaftlerInnen nachdenken. In diesem Artikel entwerfen wir, aufbauend auf klassischen und aktuellen Studien, ein idealtypisches Modell von Kulturerbe, welches Kulturerbe zeitlich und in Relation zu anderen kulturalen Modi anordnet—insbesondere zu Innovation und kulturellen Normen (in anderer theoretischer Lesart auch Habitus). Die vorgeschlagene Heuristik betont den metakulturellen Charakter einer kulturellen Form und die unterschiedlichen Grade der Bewusstheit in einem bestimmten sozialen, kulturellen und historischen Kontext und möchte kritische Perspektiven auf Kulturerbe-Politiken ergänzen.

Abstract

自20世纪90年代以来,民俗学者对遗产概念的使用变得更具思考性,现在这一术语已经成为我们理论和政策辩论的焦点。遗产即是民俗学者思考的全球现象,也是我们用于思考的一个概念。本文以经典研究和近期成果为基础,提出一个遗产的理想型模型。该模型把遗产置于时间之流中和与其他文化模式的关系之中,特别是与创新和惯常文化的关系之中,惯常文化在某种不同的框架里也被称为惯习。本文的启发性在于强调在特定社会、文化和历史语境中文化形式的元文化程度是不同的,本文也意在补充那些侧重于官方遗产政策的批判性观点。

Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China at #AFSAM19

I am here using a blog post not to share current news, but to get an older document online and linkable. What follows is the short (public) and long (unseen, for peer-review) abstracts from the panel “Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project” presented at the 2019 American Folklore Society Annual Meeting (October 17, 2019, Baltimore, Maryland). My intention is to link to this post from a new (February 2020) page for the “Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies” (sub-)project. An earlier post on the panel appeared here.

Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project

In a three-year phase of the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, researchers from six museums have collaborated in a binational program of ethnographic research in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In this panel, project participants will report on the research, sometimes emphasizing textile practices such as embroidery and basketry, sometimes focusing on heritage issues, sometimes discussing the lessons of the collaboration. The presenters will share their findings in accessible ways but China specialists may wish to know that research has taken place among the Dong people of Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County and the Baiku Yao people living in Nandan County.

Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project

In a three-year phase (2017-2019) of the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project of the American Folklore Society and the China Folklore Society, researchers from six museums have collaborated in a bi-national program of ethnographic research in two counties in northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In keeping with the larger project of which it is a part, this museum sub-project has focused on questions of cultural heritage policy and practice. The researchers have paid particular attention to various local textile practices in local Yao and Dong communities, considering these practices in their own terms and in relation to the ways that they are being impacted by such heritage practices as cultural tourism, master artist designations, eco-museum development, and formal training initiatives. In this panel, project participants will report on aspects of the joint work, sometimes emphasizing studies of such textile practices as weaving, embroidery, and basketry, sometimes focusing on heritage phenomena, sometimes discussing the lessons of the joint work. In most instances, presenters will touch on all of these aspects in varying degrees. Reporting on a period of field research recently completed, the presentations will be an early stage in a process that will lead to formal publications drawing on the research project. The presenters welcome feedback on these early reports of work recently concluded. The presenters will share their findings in ways that will be accessible to those without knowledge of Chinese ethnography. Specialists may wish to know that the research team’s work has taken place among the Dong people of Sanjiang County, particularly those living in and around the town of Tongle and among the Baiku Yao people living near Lihu town in Nandan County. These communities are home to the Sanjiang Dong Eco-Museum and the Nandan Baiku Yao Eco-Museum, key institutional partners in the research collaboration.

Sources on the larger collaborations that contextualize this specific project include volumes by J. Zhang and Song (2017) and MacDowell and L. Zhang (2016) and an overview by Lloyd (2017). Relevant works in material culture studies include books by Formoso (2013) and L. Zhang (2010). Studies of cultural heritage topics of relevance to the panel include Chio (2014) and a volume edited by Bumenfield and Silverman (2013).

References Cited

Blumenfield, Tami and Helaine Silverman, eds. 2013. Cultural Heritage Politics in China. New York: Springer.

Chio, Jenny. 2014. A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Formoso, Bernard. 2013. Costume du Yunnan. Nanterre: Société d’ethnologie.

Lloyd, Tim. 2017. “The Inside Story of the AFS China-US Project.” AFS Review. June 12, 2017. https://www.afsnet.org/news/349609/The-Inside-Story-of-the-AFS-China-US-Project.htm

MacDowell, Marsha, and Lijun Zhang, eds. 2016 中国西南拼布 | Quilts of Southwest China. Nanning: Guangxi Museum of Nationalities.

Zhang, Juwen and Song Junhua, eds. 2017. Metafolklore: Stories of Sino-US Folkloristic Cooperation | 文化对话:中美非物质文化遗产论坛. Guangzhou: Sun Yat-sen University Press.

Lijun Zhang. 2010. China Folk Art Crafts. Beijing: China Agriculture Press.

The schedule of presentation from the conference program follows:

Diamond Session: Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project

Sponsored by the American Folklore Society, the Folklore and Museums Section, and the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section

Sarah Junk Hatcher (Indiana University), chair

8:00 The Fabric of Life: Baiku Yao Textiles in Huaili Village
Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art)

8:15 Field Research on Dong Textiles in the Tongle Area of Sanjiang County
Miaomiao Fan (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

8:30 Mijiu and Mai Wup: Trilingual Fieldwork and an Indigo Dying Method
MicahJ.Ling (Indiana University)

8:45 Imagination and Enlargement: Daily Performance and Life History in Ethnographic Video
Xiaoyan Liang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

9:00 Notes on Basketry among the Dong People of Sanjiang County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
C.KurtDewhurst (Michigan State University Museum)and Jason Baird Jackson (Indiana University)

9:15 Building a Museum Collection of Work Baskets in Northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Jason Baird Jackson (Indiana University) and Lijun Zhang (George Mason University)

9:30 A Rice Basket: Basketmaking in a Baiku Yao Community (Film Screening)
Jon Kay (Indiana University)

9:45 discussion

Hertz - The Fabric of Life

The title slide from Carrie Hertz’ presentation to the #AFSAM19 panel.

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at #AFSAM18

I am here using a blog post not to share current news, but to get an older document online and linkable. What follows is the short (public) and long (unseen, for peer-review) abstracts from the panel “Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region” presented at the 2018 American Folklore Society Annual Meeting (October 18, 2018, Buffalo New York). My intention is to link to this post from a new (February 2020) page for the “Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies” (sub-)project.

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

In this Diamond session, participants will share preliminary results from ongoing field research among the Baiku (White Trouser) Yao people of Nandan County in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Presentations will explore aspects of local Yao material culture, with a special focus on fabric arts and basketry. The presenters share an interest in the ways that these craft activities are being impacted by such cultural heritage practices as master artisan designations, cultural tourism, and eco-museum-based community documentation projects. The field research is one part of the American Folklore Society and China Folklore Society’s joint Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project.

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

In this Diamond session, participants will share preliminary results from ongoing field research among the Baiku (White Trouser) Yao people of Nandan County in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Presentations will explore aspects of local Yao material culture, with a special focus on fabric arts and basketry. The neighboring villages of Huatu, Manjiang, and Huaili, where the panelists have pursued joint field research under the auspices of the American Folklore Society and China Folklore Society’s joint Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, are communities with a high level of engagement with cultural heritage initiatives, the most visible of which is the Nandan Baiku Yao Eco-Museum, with which the researchers have partnered. The presenters share an interest in the ways that craft activities are being impacted by such cultural heritage practices as master artisan designations, cultural tourism, and eco-museum-based community documentation projects.

Kurt Dewhurst will present an overview of the team’s 2017 work in Guangxi and situate it in relationship to the larger projects of which it was a part. Jason Baird Jackson and Lijun Zhang will report on the team’s studies of bamboo basketry among the Yao, tracking baskets from making to marketing to household use. Miaomiao Fan and Marsha MacDowell will discuss Baiku Yao textile arts, characterizing the status of textiles, especially clothing arts, inside and outside the local community. Xiaoyan Liang and Jon Kay will both report on aspects of the video documentary work pursued during the December 2017 fieldwork, offering general reflections arising from the specific experiences of each filmmaker.

While some studies of the Baiku Yao have been published in Chinese ethnological scholarship, English-language studies are rare and focus mainly on Baiku Yao participation in eco-museum development (Nitzky 2012, 2014; Yi 2013). Within the larger literatures on the Yao peoples in the Southeast Asia Massif, Yao textiles have received considerable attention, but those of the Baiku Yao are distinctive and little documented (cf. Pouret 2002). English-language scholarship on basketry among the Yao is nonexistent, a situation that holds largely for the minority nationalities of Southwest China as a whole. These peoples and their diverse and impressive utility baskets are largely left out of surveys of Chinese basketry (Kwan 2010, but see Fei and Chang 1945). Sophisticated treatments of Yao culture, society, history, and circumstances in modern China by Western scholars have not yet taken up the circumstances of the Baiku Yao specifically (ex. Litzinger 2000) and the Baiku Yao situation has similarly not been considered in the context of larger comparative discussions of the region and its peoples (Chio 2014; Scott 2009; Turner, Bonnin, and Michaud 2015). Future work by the binational team aims to bridge Chinese-language and English-language scholarship on the Yao and their neighbors and, as in this panel, to begin introducing English-speaking audiences to the Baiku Yao. The team also aims to further connect its studies among the Baiku Yao to wider Chinese-Language and English-language work on cultural heritage (ex. An and Yang 2015; Hafstein 2012; Noyes 2017; Song 2015; Zhang 2014).

References Cited

An, Deming, and Lihui Yang. “Chinese Folklore Since the Late 1970s: Achievements, Difficulties, and Challenges.” Asian Ethnology 74, no. 2 (2015): 273–90.

Chio, Jenny. A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014.

Fei, Xiaotong, and Tse-i Chang. Earthbound China: A Study of Rural Economy in Yunnan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1945.

Hafstein, Valdimar T. “Heritage.” In A Companion to Folklore, edited by Regina F. Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem, 500–519. Blackwell Companions to Anthropology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

關善明 [Simon Kwan]. 中國竹籃 [Chinese Basketry]. Hong Kong: 沐文堂美術出版社 [Muwen Tang Fine Arts Publication], 2010.

Litzinger, Ralph A. Other Chinas: The Yao and the Politics of National Belonging. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

Nitzky, William. “Mediating Heritage Preservation and Rural Development: Ecomuseum Development in China.” Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 41, no. 2–4 (2012): 367–417.

Nitzky, William. “Community Empowerment at the Periphery? Participatory Approaches to Heritage Protection in Guizhou, China.” In Cultural Heritage Politics in China, edited by Tami Blumenfield and Helaine Silverman, 205–32. New York: Springer, 2013.

Nitzky, William David. “Entanglements of ‘Living Heritage’: Ecomuseum Development in Rural China.” Dissertation, Arizona State University, 2014. http://hdl.handle.net/2286/R.I.25920.

Noyes, Dorothy. Humble Theory: Folklore’s Grasp on Social Life. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017.

Pourret, Jess G. The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002.

Scott, James C. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Song, Junhua. “An Analysis of the Current Situation and Problems of the Digital Protection of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.” Cultural Heritage, 6 (2015):10-23.

Turner, Sarah, Christine Bonnin, and Jean Michaud. Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017.

Yi, Sabrina Hong. “Examining the Suojia Ecomuseum and the Nandan Ecomuseum in China.” In ACAC 2013 : Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures, 168–77. Bangkok, Thailand: Srinakharinwirot University, 2013. http://dro.deakin.edu.au/view/DU:30055238.

Zhang, Lijun. “Living with/in Heritage: Tulou as Home, Heritage, and Destination.” Dissertation, Indiana University, 2014.

The schedule of presentation from the conference program follows:

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Sponsored by the American Folklore Society, the Folklore and Museums Section, and the Henry Luce Foundation

Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art), chair

8:00 Collaborative International Museum Fieldwork: Joint Documentation and Learning
C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum)

8:15 From Maker to Marketplace: Aspects of Basketry Among the Baiku Yao
Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University)

8:30 Continuity and Transformation: Basketry, Personal History, and Community Life
Lijun Zhang (Anthropological Museum of Guangxi)

8:45 A Probe into the Art and Inheritance of White Trouser Yao Textiles
Miaomiao Fan (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

9:00 Baiku Yao Textiles in the Marketplace: A Quest to Understand Traditions and Adaptations
Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University Museum)

9:15 Ethnographic Documentary and “Return Visit” Methods in Guangxi
Xiaoyan Liang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

9:30 Craft and Videography: An Ethnographic Approach and Collaborative Method
Jon Kay (Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University)

9:45 discussion

IMG_0608

A portion of Manjiang village, a Baiku Yao community, viewed from above. December 14, 2017. Photograph by Jason Baird Jackson.

#AFSAM19: Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China

Notes on Basketry among the Dong People of Sanjiang County E

A title slide showing key project sites in the Dong areas of Guangxi and Guizhou.

Shreds and Patches has been quieter than usual as I work my way through a really complicated semester. In the midst of the jumble of unforeseen circumstances, there are some good things actually happening according to plan. One of these was the most recent in a series of panels at the American Folklore Society Annual Meetings reporting on the work of the museum partners in the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project. Earlier this month, at the start of the 2019 meeting in Baltimore, members of our group, presented a panel on “Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project.” This is the panel abstract:

In a three-year phase of the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, researchers from six museums have collaborated in a bi-national program of ethnographic research in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In this panel, project participants will report on the research, sometimes emphasizing textile practices such as embroidery and basketry, sometimes focusing on heritage issues, sometimes discussing the lessons of the collaboration. The presenters will share their findings in accessible ways but China specialists may wish to know that research has taken place among the Dong people of Sanjiang County and the Baiku Yao people living in Nandan County.

Carrie HERTZ (Museum of International Folk Art) presented on “The Fabric of Life: Baiku Yao Textiles in Huaili Village.”

Hertz - The Fabric of Life

A title slide related to the textile arts of the Baiku Yao people of Nandan County, Guangxi.

FAN Miaomiao (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi) presented in absentia on “Field Research on Dong Textiles in the Tongle Area of Sanjiang County.”

Micah J. LING (Indiana University) shared her paper “Mijiu and Mai Wup: Trilingual Fieldwork and an Indigo Dying Method.”

LIANG Ziaoyan (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), also presenting in absentia, shared her paper “Imagination and Enlargement: Daily Performance and Life History in Ethnographic Video.” Her paper focused on her experiences in our work in Sanjiang County.

C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum) presented a paper that he and I, with help from ZHANG Lijun (George Mason University), worked on together titled: “Notes on Basketry among the Dong People of Sanjiang County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.”

I (Jason Baird Jackson, Indiana University) presented a paper for which Lijun was co-author. It was about “Building a Museum Collection of Work Baskets in Northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.” The paper focused on the collection of baskets assembled for the collections of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

AFS2019 Jackson and Zhang C (Slides)

A slide evoking in basketry collected for the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The session concluded with a presentation of a film by Jon Kay (Indiana University) titled “A Rice Basket: Basketmaking in a Baiku Yao Community” It is now viewable online on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/QrD_-lrB9UY

This session, and one that preceded it in 2018, will be a springboard for more sustained writing by many project participants. We have learned much during our collaborative work in Guangxi. I thank many the local people in Nandan and Sanjiang Counties who have taught us and our hosts and partners at the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum, the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum, and the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi. Special thanks also go to The Henry Luce Foundation, the China Folklore Society, and the American Folklore Society for their support of the broader projects of which ours museum and material culture efforts are just a part.

 

 

 

A Cooperative Craft Survey in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Part 1

A note on photographs. Here just a few photographs from the first day of our May 2019 travel in Yunnan are presented. It will take time to work through all of the images that were made during the travels described in this post. When a fuller report is ready, the team will share additional images.

In May, after the conclusion of the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage (where our focus was Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies), I was part of a group of American museum folklorists who traveled to the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Yunnan Province. A spin-off project from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, our group was very generously hosted by the Institute of National Culture Research at Dali University in the city of Dali (Figures 1-2). Together with members of the Institute’s faculty, we traveled throughout the prefecture meeting Bai craftspeople working in a range of material forms. From them, we learned about their craft disciplines and about their experiences participating in formal intangible cultural heritage initiatives. This opportunity to learn from talented makers in Yunnan offered a wonderful comparative experience, pointing to commonalities and differences with northern Guangxi, where our group has been pursuing collaborative studies with partners from the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi, the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum and the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum.

Institute of National Culture Research Discussion Photograph (Size Reduced)

Figure 1. Dr. CUN Yunji, leader of the Institute of National Culture Research at Dali University, hosts a discussion on heritage research. Participating were faculty, researchers, and students from the Institute and visitors from the three participating institutions in the United States (Michigan State University Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University. May 23, 2019. Photograph courtesy of the Institute of National Culture Research.

A full account of the Dali-area craft survey is in preparation and I am hopeful that we can share it later. Here my aim is to thank our very generous hosts and interlocutors.

Dali University Institute of National Culture Research Group Photograph (Size Reduced)

Figure 2. Members of the Institute of National Culture Research, Dali University together with the visiting team from the United States. May 23, 2019. Photograph courtesy of the Institute of National Culture Research.

During our time in the Bai region, our bi-national team visited with a silversmith, a wood carver, a ceramicist, an embroiderer who also makes elaborate fabric figures and miniature dioramas on ethnographic topics, two tie-dye artists, and two basket makers. In each case, these craftspeople maintained active studios and most guided the work of many students, apprentices, and junior colleagues. Nearly all were recognized as masters on some formal level (national, prefectural, county, etc.) within China’s system of intangible cultural heritage recognition, promotion, and safeguarding. We also attended a key calendrical festival of regional importance and visited the Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng Temple near (old) Dali (Figures 3-5). While old Dali was our home base, we traveled to many towns and villages and spent one night in old Shaxi. We enjoyed traveling with our colleagues from Dali University and holding discussions with them on areas of shared research interest while visiting the university’s beautiful campus. Many layers of cultural history are evident when traveling in the Dali area. Long favorited by international and Chinese tourists, Dali and the whole region has an elaborate tourism economy and infrastructure, reflective of dramatic and constant change within the period of China’s “opening up” (see for instance, the research of Beth Notar). As throughout the country, one can also see Dali-specific evidence of older historical eras, from the time of the cultural revolution to the republican and imperial eras. In this region, particular emphasis is given (at present) to long-distance trade on the Tea Horse Road. Intercultural connectedness is a theme in tourism and historical consciousness that draws on the story of trade routes, the region’s religious complexity, and its distinctive place in the region’s long history.

IMG_8636

Figure 3. Erhai Lake and the Dali Basin as seen from the Dali University campus near Dali (Old Town). May 23, 2019. Photograph by C. Kurt Dewhurst.

I record here our deep appreciation for our generous and knowledgeable colleagues at Dali University and in Yunnan more broadly. Many friends in the Chinese folklore studies community assisted us making this journey. We look forward to sharing the fuller story of this trip and to thanking our partners by name in a more formal report. Special thanks go, of course, to the craftspeople who opened their studios, workshops, and homes to our team of Chinese and American scholars.

IMG_7750

Figure 4. A view of The Three Pagodas and the Cang Mountains. May 23, 2019. Photograph by Jason Baird Jackson.

IMG_6492

Figure 5. A small glimpse of the very large Chongshen Temple and Monastery complex near (old) Dali.  May 23, 2019. Photograph by Carrie Hertz.

2019 Summer Folklore Institute: Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage

I have just returned from a second summer trip to China. This time I was part of an American delegation to one of the summer institutes jointly organized by the China Folklore Society and the American Folklore Society. Previous joint institutes were held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA at the School of Advanced Research (2018), in Hailar, Inner Mongolia, China at Hulunbiur University (2017), and in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China at Inner Mongolia Normal University (2016).  This year’s institute was hosted by The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. As in past years, the lead funder was the Henry Luce Foundation, which generously supports a broader program of work being pursued jointly by the AFS and CFS working together. As always, other funders and local organizations provided additional support for this institute.

IMG_0179 1

Figure 1. Participants in the 2019 Summer Folklore Institute: on “Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage” July 13, 2019. Photograph courtesy of The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It was a great pleasure to participate in the institute, a gathering that offered a chance to connect with new American and Chinese colleagues while also reconnecting with colleagues whom I have ongoing ties (Figure 1). The institute not only strengthened ties with Chinese and American colleagues, it further helped me understand intangible cultural heritage work being pursued in China (and in the U.S.).

Staged for two days at the mid-point of the institute was a larger international conference on the same theme. This International Seminar on Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage included all of the American and Chinese institute participants, but added a significant additional group of Chinese participants as well as one colleague from Bangladesh and one from Japan (Figure 2). A few of the seminar participants were old friends, but most were new colleagues from whom I was thrilled to learn.

IMG_0225

Figure 2. Participants in the International Seminar on Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. July 15, 2019. Photograph courtesy of The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

If you would like to learn more about the institute, there are (so far) two reports published on it (besides this one). The China Folklore Society published a report just after the institute got under way. If you do not read Chinese, you can open the link in Google Chrome and use Google Translate for a rough translation. This report is here: https://www.chinesefolklore.org.cn/web/index.php?NewsID=19023

The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage published a report at the conclusion of the institute. It can be found here. Again, Google Translate can provide a rough translation. https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/gk0KwKcHxq70ZHNXywo2Bw

The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage also published a report at the conclusion of the international seminar. It can be found here: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/eY-X2ATW7aUudqwTewXDSA

Thanks to all of the participants in these gatherings. Special thanks go to all of the organizers and faculty, to the leadership of the CFS and AFS, and to our generous hosts at Sun Yat-sen University, including Professor SONG Junhua, Director of The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies

The following is a report on The Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies (第七届中美民俗学与非物质文化遗产论坛: 博物馆民俗与遗产研究的协作工作). The version of record appears on the website of the American Folklore Society. This version adds more images. You can find a copy of the conference program here. –Jason Baird Jackson (杰森. 拜尔德. 杰克逊)

During three beautiful spring days in Beijing, a group of Chinese and American scholars and cultural workers gathered to discuss practices of collaboration in folklore studies and intangible cultural heritage work, with a focus on collaborations between ethnographic museums and between such museums and other groups in society. Held on May 19-22, 2019, this was the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage, one of a long-running series of conferences organized cooperatively by the China Folklore Society (CFS) and the American Folklore Society (AFS), as part of a broader binational collaboration begun in 2007. These forums have explored various aspects of cultural heritage policy, practice, and theory, giving US and Chinese participants an opportunity to learn about the state of the field as pursued in the national context that is not their own (Lloyd 2017).

This Seventh Forum, focusing on Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies, was held at the Indiana University China Gateway office in Beijing. Meeting under the auspices of the CFS and the AFS, the conference’s program was organized by the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi (Guangxi Museum of Nationalities), with extensive logistical and practical support provided by the two societies and the gateway office staff. Generous financial support was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at Indiana University.

Delegates to the forum came from a diversity of American and Chinese museums and universities. Chinese institutions represented included the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi, the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum, Beijing Normal University, the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum, East China Normal University, Fudan University, the Guizhou Nationalities Museum, Minzu University of China, Shandong University, and the Yunnan Nationalities Museum. American institutions represented included the Michigan State University Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, Texas Tech University, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (Indiana University), History Miami, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (University of Oklahoma), and the American Folklore Society (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Delegates to the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage held at the Indiana University Gateway Office in Beijing, May 19, 2019. Shu Caiqian (Guizhou Nationalities Museum), Zhang Yibing (Guizhou Nationalities Museum, Zhu Gang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Li Mingjie (East China Normal University), Wang Wei (Shandong University), Jessica Anderson Turner (American Folklore Society), An Deming (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Luo Wenhong (Fudan University), Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University Museum), Surna (Minzu University of China), Kristin Otto (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Felicia Katz-Harris (Museum of International Folk Art), Sarah Hatcher (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Yang Lihui (Beijing Normal University), Lu Chaoming (Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum), Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Chen Xi (Sun Yet-sen University), Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art), Chao Gejin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Wuerxiya (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Fan Miaomiao (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum), Yang Quanzhong (Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum), He Chun (Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum), Michael Paul Jordan (Texas Tech University), Wu Dawei (Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum), Ou Bo (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), Michael Knoll (History Miami), Lan Yuanyuan (Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum), Gong Shiyang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), Jon Kay (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Luo Yong (Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum), Mai Xi (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), Zhao Fei (Yunnan Nationalities Museum), Wang Yucheng (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi).

On the afternoon of May 19, the conference began with warm words of welcome from AFS Executive Director Jessica Turner and CFS Past President Chao Gajin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), standing in for current CFS President Ye Tao (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) who was unable to attend (Figure 2). Also offering brief opening remarks on behalf of the program committee were Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures) and Gong Shiyang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi) (Figure 3). These remarks preceded the forum’s keynote address by C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum). Extending an earlier discussion of principles for museum collaboration (Dewhurt and MacDowell 2015), Dewhurt reflected on a range of museum collaborations in which he and the MSU Museum have participated. Among the collaborations that Dewhurst addressed were earlier phases of the AFS-CFS partnership, which has included two museum sub-projects (2013-2016; 2017-2019). The first of these encompassed the Fifth and Sixth forum events, the traveling exhibition and bilingual catalogue Quilts of Southwest China (MacDowell and Zhang 2015), and numerous other elements (Lloyd 2017). In this phase, three Chinese museums and three US museums partnered together (Dewhurst and Lloyd 2019). In the more recent phase, collaborators from the three U.S. museums have joined with the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi for a program of joint research focused on textiles and intangible cultural heritage policy in two northern counties of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Central to this new phase of work are the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum and the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum. Thus, while Dewhurst’s keynote was a general reflection on museum collaboration, his presentation also served to orient conferees to the specific joint AFS-CFS supported projects that gave the forum its organizational context.

The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion in which representatives from the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum and Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum described their work and the community and organizational collaborations in which they participate (Figure 4). American participants appreciated this opportunity to learn about the innovative work of these ecomuseums first-hand and drew comparisons to various kind of community-based museums in the US. While Chinese delegates were more knowledgeable about the form that ecomuseums take in China, they also appreciated the chance to engage with the ecomuseum leaders directly in a comparative scholarly context.

It was an honor that many Beijing-based leaders in the CFS and in Chinese folklore studies overall could attend these opening events, which also included a welcoming banquet generously hosted by the CFS. This gathering was enlivened further when the leaders of the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum introduced both Dong flute music and toasting songs to the group. For many American delegates, this was a memorable first experience with the richness of Chinese banquet customs and the beauty of Dong music (Figure 5).

The second day of the conference was a full day featuring presentations from Chinese and American delegates. In line with the goals of the forum, the presenters described specific museum collaboration projects, using them as the basis for broader reflections on the work of museum ethnography and heritage studies today. Translation for most conference presentations was very ably done by Chen Xi (Sun Yat-sen University) and Luo Wenhong (Fudan University) (Figure 6). A number of themes emerged through the juxtaposition of presentations throughout the conference. These included: (1) the nature of museum-based ethnographic and exhibition projects in urban contexts, (2) the dynamics unique to heritage-oriented fieldwork pursued across differences of language, culture, and institutional context, (3) the place of objects and material culture studies within museum collaborations, (4) the use of exhibitions as catalysts for broader collaborations and relationship building, (5) the value of older museum collections for contemporary communities and craftspeople, (6) the place of documentary video in museum ethnography, and (7) the special importance that attaches to national folk costume in diverse museum and local cultural contexts in the current era (Figure 7).

The conference’s third day featured a morning of additional presentations followed by a special outing in which conferees visited Beijing’s Shichahai historic area to learn about cultural preservation and heritage tourism activities centered there (Figures 8-9). Participants enjoyed a hutong tour and a visit to the Drum Towner of Beijing (Gulou). While she could not attend the forum, this outing was curated by Zhang Lijun (George Mason University) and drew upon her folklore research interpreting the narrative performances of hutong tour guides (Zhang 2016, 2019). The conference concluded with a banquet, hosted by AFS and featuring Yunnan cuisine. Highpoints of this concluding gathering were many individual expressions of friendship and goodwill as well as a vigorous singing competition staged between the binational groups gathered around two large banquet tables. Heartfelt singing in Dong, Yao, Mandarin, Mongolian and English brought the seventh forum to a joyful close.

References Cited

Dewhurst, C. Kurt, and Timothy Lloyd. 2019. “The American Folklore Society-China Folklore Society Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, 2013-2016.” Museum Anthropology Review 13 (1): 59-68. https://doi.org/10.14434/mar.v13i1.25405

Dewhurst, C. Kurt, and Marsha MacDowell. 2015. “Strategies for Creating and Sustaining Museum-Based International Collaborative Partnerships.” Practicing Anthropology 37 (3): 54–55. https://doi.org/10.17730/0888-4552-37.3.54

Lloyd, Tim. 2017 “The Inside Story of the AFS China-US Project.” https://www.afsnet.org/news/349609/The-Inside-Story-of-the-AFS-China-US-Project.htm, accessed June 12, 2019.

MacDowell, Marsha, and Lijun Zhang, eds. 2016. 中国西南拼布 | Quilts of Southwest China. Nanning: Guangxi Museum of Nationalities. [Distributed in the United States by Indiana University Press.]

Zhang, Lijun. 2016. “Performing Locality and Identity: Rickshaw Driver, Narratives, and Tourism.” Cambridge Journal of China Studies 11 (1): 88-104. https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/260292

Zhang, Lijun. 2019. “A Brief Guide to Shichahai.” Video Presentation Prepared for The Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies, Beijing, China.

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Figure 2. Figure 2. Chao Gajin welcomes delegates to the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies. May 19, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

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Figure 3. Figure 3. Gong Shiyang addresses delegates to the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage. May 19, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

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Figure 4. Wu Dawei offers remarks on the work of the Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum during the ecomuseum panel discussion. Left to Right: Lu Chaoming, He Chun, Lan Yuanyuan, Yang Quanzhong, Wu Dawei, Luo Wenhong (translating), Jason Baird Jackson. May 19, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

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Figure 5. Wu Dawei performs Dong flute music at the opening banquet. May 19, 2019. Photograph by C. Kurt Dewhurst.

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Figure 6. Zhang Yibing discusses the work of the Guizhou Nationalities Museum with Luo Wenhong providing English translation.. May 20, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

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Figure 7. Carrie Hertz discusses research related to the exhibition Dressing with Purpose. May 20, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

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Figure 8. Surna discusses her research on Mongol national dress. May 21, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

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Figure 9. Lan Yuanyuan and He Chun begin a rickshaw tour of the Shichahai neighborhood in Beijing. May 21, 2019. Photography by Jason Baird Jackson.

Make Time to Watch “The Flight of the Condor: A Letter, a Song and the Story of Intangible Cultural Heritage”

Don’t miss the recent documentary film “The Flight of the Condor: A Letter, a Song, and the Story of Intangible Cultural Heritage”. by Áslaug Einarsdóttir and Valdimar Tr. Hafstein. If you watch the film (30 minutes) above or via Vimeo, be sure to circle back to the projexct website http://flightofthecondorfilm.com/ and take note of Valdimar’s new book from Indiana University Press: Making Intangible Heritage: El Condor Pasa and Other Stories from UNESCO.

Valdimar is an innovative researcher and a leading scholar in folklore studies and European ethnology. His writings on heritage policy and practice are essential contributions to the field and the new film does an outstanding job of telling a complex and compelling story in an engaging way that, in doing so, illuminates a global phenomena of importance.

While you are still feeling warm feelings about UNESCO’s recent inscription of reggae and dry stone walls on the world heritage list, watch The Flight of the Condor and think more deeply with Valdimar about the work of heritage, the circulation of cultural forms, and the ways that the contexts of our understanding can change so wildly across time, space, and social position.

The University of Tartu, Appreciated

#fulbrightspecialist #fulbright #exchangeourworld

I recently spent an extended time in Tartu, Estonia. I had the wonderful opportunity to be a Fulbright Specialist visiting the Departments of: (1) Estonian and Comparative Folklore, (2) Ethnology, and (3) Estonian Native Craft at the University of Tartu. My visit also provided rich opportunities to learn about the work of the Estonian National Museum, with which these departments collaborate closely. Visiting Estonia was a transformational experience for me and I am very grateful for my generous hosts in Estonia and for the continued work of the [U.S. Department of State’s] Fulbright Program. Here I reflect briefly on the work of my fields at the University of Tartu. In a later post, I will evoke the courses that I taught and the students I met while in Tartu. In a final post, I will touch on the Estonian National Museum and the rich International Committee for Museums and Collections of Ethnography (ICME) conference that it recently hosted.

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On the left, with the mural on its end, is Ülikooli 16 in Tartu on the University of Tartu campus. It is today home to the Institute for Cultural Research, which includes the Departments of Ethnology and of Estonian and Comparative Folklore.

The twinned disciplines in which I work–folkloristics (folklore studies) and ethnology–have a deep and important history in Estonia. So too do the practice of, and the study of, the nation’s rich craft traditions. For my interests, it would really be difficult to think of a richer and more rewarding place to make an in-depth, scholarly visit. The University of Tartu is almost two centuries older than Indiana University where I work. It was founded in 1632 under the auspices of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Through Swedish, Russian, and Soviet rule as well as in independent Estonia, the University of Tartu has been a major world academic center. This is reflected in the fame and impact of its academic programs and in the scholars and students who continue to gather there from around the world. (For those interested in Indiana University connections, the university is strong not only in folklore studies and ethnology, but in the neighboring field of semiotics, another field of special interest to Indiana University scholars. Semiotician and IU Distinguished Professor Thomas Sebeok’s library can be found there (See: Thomas A. Sebeok Memorial Library. As noted here, Sebeok was a Fellow of the IU Folklore Institute and a Professor of Anthropology among his many IU roles.)

The Departments that hosted me have longstanding and strong undergraduate and graduate programs, but a new joint MA program was one catalyst for my visit. Having just welcomed its second cohort of students, the Folkloristics and Applied Heritage Studies program is an English-language masters degree program attracting strong students from around the world (including the United States). It is taught and managed in partnership between these units.

I taught two short-term courses while visiting campus (see later post) and met with colleagues and students both in Tartu and in the city of Viljandi, where the Department of Estonian Native Craft is based. It and other arts programs are located in the Viljandi Culture Academy. Viljandi–about an hour east of Tartu–is a strong hub for the arts in general and for Estonian vernacular and folk arts in particular. For example, near Viljandi is a great satellite museum of the Estonian National Museum that is focused on handicraft and rural life (Heimtali Museum of Domestic Life) and Viljandi is home to the major Viljandi Folk Music Festival.

Both in Viljandi and in Tartu, UT faculty were very generous and taught me much about their work and its contexts. As someone who teaches the history (and present status) of folklore studies, anthropology, and ethnology, it was extremely valuable to have a close encounter with the past and present of these fields in a national context that is inflected in both Northern European ways and in the Russian, Soviet, Post-Soviet ways. As throughout the region, issues of nationalism and national identity are a central theme, but colonialisms and their afterlives are also woven throughout the disciplinary histories. Estonia offers much to think about.

This is not just a historical matter, as changes and innovations in Estonia society also offer many lessons. For instance, life at the University of Tartu is now heavily impacted by programs and initiatives of the European Union and technological mediation is a constantly present dynamic in the university’s educational work. While I am quite accustomed now with online and distance education, I was struck by the extensive role that these techniques play not only word-heavy curriculums such as in ethnology and folklore studies, but in the university’s native craft curriculum. Most students in this later department are older students (older, that is, than recent high school graduates) and they are learning advanced textile, metalwork, and building techniques as well as heritage studies methods and theories through a combination of intense-but-brief in-person work on campus and online education activities.

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My course on “Getting the Most Out of Peer-Review” was generously supported by the European Union, thus this sign was posted during class sessions.

From colleagues in these departments, I also gained a deeper understanding of their impressive publishing work. Highlights include the Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics (which I have long admired) and Studia Vernacula and a great diversity of monographs and edited volumes. Publication work in my fields is very advanced in the UT departments. The well-researched and beautiful books being produced related to Estonian craft techniques and histories are a marvel–little work of this quality is found in the United States.

I could continue at near endless length, but this is enough for now. I close for the moment with warm appreciation for all of the staff, faculty, and students who worked hard to make my visit possible and who shared so much of their work and passion with me. Thanks also go to the Fulbright Specialist Program and to the European Union, the University of Tartu, and other funding agencies that supported my activities.

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In downtown Tartu.

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