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Visual anthropology in China: open lecture

March 13, 2014 - 13:15-16:00

Open lecture by Professor Zhuang Kongshao, People’s University and Zhejiang University
Professor Zhuang Kongshao will present an overview and his own work within the field of visual anthropology, including screening some short films to illustrate his work.
Part 1: Visual anthropology in China
Professor Zhuang began to revisit the field site in Gutian County of Fujian Province in 1986, where Chinese anthropologist Lin Yue-Hwa had done fieldwork and research in 1930s. At the end of the research, Professor Zhuang made the film “The Dragon Boat Festival” (UW Press 1992), and finished writing “Silver Wings” (Taipei, 1996; Beijing, 2000), which was the extended study of Lin’s “Golden Wings”. Together with the monograph and film, there were also photo series (individual photo exhibition supported by the Washington State Government, 1994), essays, travel notes, poetry, paintings multi-media, and follow-up thesis as well as the presentations and seminars.
To present the culture in various modes, such as monograph and film, will interpret and help understand the culture of the field site better than academic thesis and monograph only. Professor Zhuang put forward the idea of “Non-waste anthropology” at the Senior Session of Anthropology in Peking University in 1995, with an intention to promote the multiple modes of cultural representations. “Non-waste anthropology” should be defined as multiple means to demonstrate the knowledge, experiences, awareness and emotion in the research, communication and understanding. Apart from monographs or thesis, other forms of presentations refer to novels, essays, prose, poetry, thematic photo series multi-media, and films, so as to gain multiple understanding of the community and to expand the cultural overview.
The Dragon Boat Festival  (24 min)
The Winter Solstice: Anthropological Poetics (8min).    
Part 2: Case study: An Interpretation of the Contemporary Tiger Day Oath-Taking Ritual
The anthropological study of Oath Ritual on “Tiger Day” is based on the holism. It attempts to probe the social and cultural reasons for drug addiction among local ethnic minorities, and at the same time searches for a new method—conquering the human’s biological addiction by cultural force—different from scientific methodology. The Yi people of Liangshan employed their old cultural force—powerful customary laws, oath rituals, lineage organizations, beliefs and pride, ethnic customs, indoctrination as well as the binding moral values—to solve drug problem, with high success rates (64%-87%) in two group of drug addicts who took oath at the ceremony. In addition to the sole description and cultural interpretation of the traditional ceremony, the anthropological film Tiger Day itself constituted a part of the direct application as involved into the practice of publicizing the approach in the area, which were imitated by the people in other villages.
Tiger Day (19 minutes), won Best Practice Award in China in China-UK STD and AIDS Prevention and Control Project.
Place: Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Scheelevägen 15B, Room Alfa 1010, Lund university
Visual anthropology in China: open lecture


March 13, 2014