(GMT+01:00) Amsterdam, Berlin, Bern, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna
Open lecture with Ed Pulford, University of Manchester
Both during the 1950s Sino-Soviet Friendship and again in the present era of Xi-Putin bonhomie and Beijing’s tacit support for Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, formal ‘Friendship’ has been celebrated as the official tie between China and Russia. However, like other interpersonal relationships which are metaphorically applied to states, ‘friendship’ is a bond which varies significantly between cultures, raising questions over whether Chinese and Russian leaders and populations understand their interstate relationship in the same way. Fortunately, the vast borderlands shared by the two countries, where – in non-pandemic times – residents of each interact in large numbers, offer plentiful opportunities to assess how both sides view friendship, what it means, and how the relationship is practised and sustained. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork in northeast China and eastern Russia and more detached study of the diplomatic relationship, this talk will place a political examination of the state bond into dialogue with ethnographic study of everyday relations along the border, offering a dual perspective which shows what interpersonal relationships have to tell us about international ones and vice versa.
Ed Pulford is an Anthropologist and Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. His research and teaching focus on anthropological and historical approaches to Eurasian borderlands, China-Russia relations, and comparative experiences of socialism and empire. His first book Mirrorlands explores Russia-China connections across time through the countries’ shared borderlands, and he has written for academic and popular publications on socialist ‘Friendship’, transnational indigenous groups and postsocialist migration.
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Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
Asia Library, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Sölvegatan 18 B, Lund