|All Together Now: Ethnic Crowds and Vernacular Media in ''Minority'' China - Talk by Jenny Chio, Emory University|
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Haines 352 (Reading Room), UCLA
Every spring, national delegates from across China gather in Beijing for the annual “Two Sessions,” the meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress. During these sessions, photographs of ethnic minority delegates dressed in their finest ethnic clothing circulate widely, authenticating national discourses of China’s “happy family” of 56 official ethnic groups, visibly claiming unity between minority and majority, periphery and center, and subsuming ethnic difference within the mainstream majority. In this talk, however, I juxtapose these commonplace national images against locally produced videos of ethnic festival crowds, where the minority is the majority. Such examples of contemporary vernacular media in rural ethnic China, made by amateur videographers, typically feature lengthy shots of the massed gatherings of people, dressed in their festival best. My aim in this talk is to examine how ethnic minority bodies, individual and collective, are being imagined in the body politic of China and as body politics in China. To do so, I ask: Why are these crowd shots so commonplace in rural videos, and what do they suggest in terms of how these ethnic communities see and show themselves as a polity and as a public? How might the visual presence of a crowd of ethnic minority sameness in locally produced videos speak against, or at least Jenny Chio is a cultural anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker. She is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her current research examines vernacular media practices, including amateur and semi-professional videography and documentary filmmaking, in rural, ethnic minority communities in Guizhou, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Qinghai. She has also conducted extensive fieldwork on tourism, ethnicity, and rural development in China, published as her book A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China (U Washington Press, 2014) and her film, 农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness (Berkeley Media, 2013).
Cosponsored with UCLA Anthropology - Culture Power and Social Change
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies
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