RESPONSES_2018-seaa proposals
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3/3/2018 13:29:40
I am seeking a panel to join
TEST ABSTRACT (is the AAA limit 250 words??)
keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3
3/5/2018 22:41:50
I am seeking a panel to join
Graham Link
University of Hong Kong
glink AT
Family Suzhi: Minority Politics of Quality and Marriage in Southwest China
Recent decades have seen a series of anthropological forays into ‘human quality’ or suzhi discourse in China, all of which give special attention to the embedded meanings surrounding a ‘high quality’ family (see Anagnost 2004, Woronov 2009, Sigley 2009). These studies consistently frame suzhi in the broader terms of Foucaultian governmentality, as an instrument of the state that is deployed with specific targets - most commonly children, women, and ethnic minorities. This is where my piece makes its key intervention. Through ethnographic engagement with suzhi in one particular minority group, the Mosuo of Yunnan Province, this study interrogates whether governmentality is an appropriate analytic for the Chinese state at its margins. Based on this fieldwork, I argue that suzhi discourse is not always saturated through the Chinese public sphere with perfect fidelity to Beijing. Local Mosuo contexts instead relate suzhi to family practices of matrilineality and collective child-rearing despite state campaigns against such practices. On the margins of the Chinese state, within ethnic minority communities themselves, suzhi is reappropriated and relocated in a broader set of concerns beyond the national well-being. I synthesise these findings into a reflection on the nature of the state in China, and more normative observations on the role of governmentality in anthropological theory.
Political anthropology, kinship, China, governmentality, ethnic minorities in China
3/11/2018 20:04:18
Our panel seeks added presenter(s)
Hearts and Gold: Class and Gender in South Korean Strategies of Kinship Formation and Dissolution.
Alex Nelson
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
nelson26 AT
Hearts and Gold: Class and Gender in South Korean Strategies of Kinship Formation and Dissolution.
This proposed panel for the 2018 AAA Annual Meeting encourages submissions from scholars who are currently or have recently conducted fieldwork in South Korea on intimate relationships to discuss the intersection of gender and class in the formation, maintenance and dissolution of kinship relations. South Koreans perceive a range of pressing social issues arising at the intersection of gender and class within intimate relationships ranging from low fertility, and difficulty finding a spouse, to high divorce rates and anxiety over the cost of childrearing. These issues are not unique to South Korea but appear particularly pronounced as Koreans’ dissatisfaction mounts over excessively long and unproductive work hours, overly demanding study regiments, soring housing costs, and long commute times. How evenly are these pressures being born between men, women and children, between nuclear and extended families, between the haves and have-nots of Korean society? Submitted papers for this panel may seek to address how these economic issues shape men’s and women’s strategies in forming families (through courtship, cohabitation, marriage, childbirth, adoption) or dissolving them (divorce, separation, adoption, childlessness, etc.). or how individuals’ or families’ positions in the social field (Bourdieu 1984) shape their strategies for reproduction, upward social mobility and the pursuit of intimacy and contentment.
Korea, Kinship, Gender, Class, Marriage, Sex, Courtship, Intimacy, Love, Political Economy
3/20/2018 6:22:21
I am seeking a panel to join
Leksa LeeNYU
Producing Fakes in China's Museum Industry
Fake, Authenticity, Materiality, Industry, Business, Finance, State-Market Hybridity
3/21/2018 16:14:40
Our panel seeks added presenter(s)
Human-Animal Relationships in Contemporary Japan
Amanda Robinson
Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University
Human-Animal Relationships in Contemporary Japan
Since Levi-Strauss famously stated that “animals are good to think”, anthropologists have documented and sought to understand the relationships we have with humans. The recent “animal turn”, however, has delved far deeper into these relationships – recognizing not only the multifaceted meaningful entanglements we share with non-human animals, but the full extent of our multispecies existence. Beyond traditional perspectives, we now address non-human animals as subjects, as members of our socialities, and as kin, to name a few.

Non-human animals in Japan are no exception. Our relationships with them are equally varied. Scholars have made major contributions to the understanding of the human-animal relationship in many fields and cultural contexts, yet the human-animal relationship is Japan has only begun to be explored through a contemporary theoretical gaze. The aim of this panel is to explore what is distinctive about these relationships in this particular cultural context. How do Japanese people understand the role of nonhuman animals in their lives? What do animals represent and offer to people in Japan today? How have animals lives changed in contemporary Japan?

This panel will attempt to address these questions using case studies of human-animal relationships in Japan. As currently described, our topic is very broad and we intend to focus it as we develop a better sense of the arguments of the participants, so we welcome a variety of perspectives and methodologies.

If you are interested, please reach out with your idea/concept or potential abstract: Amanda Robinson (, and Seven Mattes ( by March 30, 2018.
Japan, Human-Animal Relations
3/23/2018 22:42:48
I am seeking a panel to join
Nobuko AdachiIllinois State Universitynadachi AT
The Nomaoi Horse Festival After the Nuclear Accident in Fukushima, Japan:
The Resistance, Adaptation, and Flexibility of Intangible Cultural Assets
In March 11, 2011 a tsunami, earthquake, and leak at a nuclear plant simultaneously occurred in Fukushima in northeast Japan, causing the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. The government ordered residents within a 30 kilometer radius to evacuate, including the Soma villages. This area was known for its annual Nomaoi samurai horse festival, which was named a National Intangible Cultural Asset in 1978. Today, Soma residents are trying to re-establish their towns and villages by rectifying this horse festival, which has become largely moribund due to the loss the horses and damage to the environment because of radioactive contamination. In July of 2011, only 50 horses and riders participated because most of the residents lost their property, and many horses died of starvation when there was no one to attend the farms and feed them.
The significance of the Nomaoi Festival has changed over the course of its 700 year history due to political, economic, and social circumstances. Today, in nuclear-phobic Japan, Fukushima residences have experienced discrimination, being thought to be somehow “contaminated.” Also, the government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the power plant) are trying to trivialize the lingering impact of the disaster. The residence of Soma are using this festival as a rallying point to revitalize their towns, and attract national attention to these lingering social and environmental problems. In this paper I ethnographically explore how the Nomaoi festival is being reinvented to bring national attention to these issues.
Intangible Cultural Assets, Fukushima, Japan, nuclear disaster, tsunami, natural disaster, displacement, horse festival
3/24/2018 5:01:31
I am seeking a panel to join
George Wu BayugaYale University
george DOT bayuga AT yale DOT edu.
Conventional Exploitation: Chinese Sisters and the Labor of Religious Life
Research on the Catholic Church in China has often focused on popular religious practices or state-religious relations. Yet since the 1980s Reform and Opening, the return of religious life after the Communist and Cultural Revolutions has manifested challenges beyond the debate between Rome and Beijing about the succession of bishops and religious freedom. This paper draws on long-term fieldwork in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China to account for how Chinese sisters support the function of the Chinese Church. It argues that while Chinese sisters often contribute critical labor and financial resources to Church life, the Church’s administrative structure both devalues their work and reduces many of their livelihoods to a precarious form of bare life. This paper aims to demonstrate how the representation of women religious’ communal convent life meshes with Chinese kinship ideologies, gift exchange practices, socialist work ethics, and gendered divisions of labor to normalize the shared suffering and sacrifices of Chinese sisters. It also highlights how their priestly counterparts receive substantially more material support, cultural capital, and influence by virtue of their ostensibly solitary vocational life and masculine necessity for performing Catholic sacraments. As the Church vigorously debates whether Rome should concede to Beijing’s demands and allow Beijing to assert control over parts of Church administration in China, this paper aspires to show how ethnographic attention to China’s women religious reveals that neither Beijing nor Rome has highlighted exploitation of sisters whose labor has helped catalyze the recent growth of the Chinese Church.
religion, labor, Catholicism, Christianity, gender, nuns, China, kinship
4/1/2018 0:06:32
Our panel seeks added presenter(s)
Moral Entanglements and Moral Economies of Elder Care in China and Japan
Claudia HuangUCLAcch4 AT
Moral Entanglements and Moral Economies of Elder Care in China and Japan
This panel brings together ethnographic studies from China and Japan to explore how economic transformation and the reconfiguration of state-society relations have changed the ways that people enter and inhabit old age. Despite following radically different economic and political trajectories in the last hundred years, both societies have arrived at critical junctures in their efforts to address their aging populations. We are less concerned with teasing out the particular relationships between aging trends and the policies or circumstances that precipitated them. Instead, we wish to take China and Japan’s complex recent histories into account in order to engage more critically with questions about what it means to grow old in these societies in the twenty-first century. How do technologies and practices of care emerge and take on moral resonance in these nations’ respective cultural and economic contexts? What new ideologies of aging and moral personhood do state actors, NGOs, and institutions of care promote in their policies and programming? How are these ideas transmitted through the ways that old age is talked about, treated, and planned for? How are they enacted and/or undermined by various actors who interact with elders? Finally, how do the elders themselves—who have already lived through dramatic social changes during their lifetimes– navigate these new realities to confront physical and mental decline, and ultimately their own mortalities?

We already have several papers on China, and seek papers that engage with topics on Japan relating (but not limited) to:

Ethical considerations in medical technologies
Moralization of elder care
Insurance programs, estate-planning, and living wills
Citizen or elder-led support initiatives
Emerging laws and legal frameworks surrounding old age
Robotics and other technologies in elder care
Japan, aging, eldercare, morality, ethics in medicine, care, mortality
4/5/2018 1:15:30
I am seeking a panel to join
Edward Glayzer
Michigan State University
The Commodification of Intimacy within South Korean Dating Rituals
Women sit individually on every floor of a high-rise while impatiently waiting for the elevator doors to open, hoping their future husband will emerge from the crowd of suitors. This scene just described is an example of “elevator-dating,” a matchmaking service that highlights the paradoxical state of courtship rituals and gender inequality in South Korea. The economic boom of the 90’s promised increased gender equity for Korean women through their new ability to earn their own incomes and choose their marriage partners. However, the coinciding explosive commodification of dating rituals have left women as unequal contributors in their intimate relationships which are highly mediated by the exchange of expensive commodities. This commodification is most evident in the ever-growing number of couple’s holiday and anniversary celebrations, paid dating services, elaborate gift exchanges, and the consumer discourses surrounding dating and marriage rituals in South Korea. My research investigates how the development of a consumer economy has affected gender inequality through the commodification of intimate relationships within dating and marriage rituals. In order to better understand the effects of commodification on gender equality in Korea, I will research matchmaking services, gift giving practices, and couple’s holidays as a way to elucidate changing gender dynamics in contemporary Korean society. While the democratizing effects of capitalism that have allowed Korean women to choose their own marriage partners would seem to have increased gender equality, my study calls this assumption into question and asks how this shift instead creates new inequalities.
commodification, gender, equality, Korea, consumerism, globalization, intimacy, income, love
4/5/2018 20:58:46
I am seeking a panel to join
Yichen RAO
University of Hong Kong
ycrao0204 AT gmail DOT com
From Confucianism to Psychology: Rebooting Internet Addicts in China
Coined in the 1990s, the term “Internet addiction” encapsulates a brief but influential human history of technological advancement and psychological development. However, most studies have treated Internet addiction as a ‘global’ concept in the realm of science without taking into consideration its socio-cultural meanings and local history. In China, obsessive online gaming behavior among youth is viewed as a national issue of public health and social control. This paper examines the special development of interventions to address Internet addiction in China within a broader local history of culturally inflected social control, Market Reform, the one-child policy, and psychology. Based on historical review and ethnographic data from a treatment center specializing in Internet addiction, this paper presents a deep analysis of what Internet addiction means in Chinese lives. It argues that Internet addiction is in fact a cultural idiom of distress related to social control rather than a universal syndrome of self-control. It represents the dynamic interactions between Confucian family values and Market Reform, the one-child policy, and recent trends in psychology and technology.
Internet addiction; social control; cultural idiom of distress; Chinese psychology; family-based intervention; science and technology;
4/6/2018 0:30:28
I am seeking a panel to join
Hisako Omori
Akita International University
Perpetuity as “home”: A paradoxical existence of ageing nuns and the children in residential care in Japan
Children are usually cared for by their parents or other adult members of kinship community to ensure their well-being in Japan. When this practice fails, children are designated as “in need of social protection,” and alternative living arrangements are made by the government. Currently, there are approximately 45,000 children who experience such a predicament. The majority of these children live in residential facilities—a fact which has been severely criticized by global watchdogs. While the management bodies of these facilities vary, religious organizations have been longstanding contributors to child welfare industry in Japan.
Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at one of children’s residential facilities run by a religious organization, this paper identify three groups of people on the margin of Japan’s capitalist economy: Catholic nuns who run the facility, children whose parents are markedly absent, and young caretakers who are expected to form a parent-child emotional bond at work. In response to a recent “ethical turn” in anthropology, I weave a story of a “good life” that these webs of relationship can offer—however it may sound controversial. I argue that perpetuity that a religious organization can provide—because of nuns’ lifelong commitment to a communal life—serves as an asset for these children whose lives are otherwise dependent on precarious conditions of adults. In a facility where employed caretakers constantly change for their harsh working conditions, ageing nuns serve as a symbol of belonging and resilience. They are not to go away—unlike children’s mothers, fathers, or young caretakers.
Japan, child welfare, Catholicism, kinship, religion, labor, well-being, care, family
4/10/2018 17:25:40
Our panel seeks added presenter(s)
Memoryscape from Socialist Sisterhood to Global Feminisms
Guldana Salimjan
University of British Columbia
“Speaking Bitterness” in the Borderland?: Muslim Kazakh Women’s Narratives in Post-Mao Xinjiang
This panel explores the effects of socialist feminisms on the current transformations of gender relations and subjectivities in late socialist and post socialist contexts around the world. State socialist feminisms have stirred complex shifts in ethnic relations, paradoxical subjectivities, and contesting genres of memories and narratives. We take memoryscape as the representations of the past that are expressed overtly, as well as the unspoken retentions (see Das 2007) that are folded in and inform current daily actions and interactions. Following Saba Mahmood (2004)’s critiques on Western feminism and liberalism, this panel explores agencies, embodiment, and ethics in the context of postsocialist feminist transformation from the angle of memoryscape of minority women.
Memory, feminism, post-socialism
4/16/2018 2:19:58
I am seeking a panel to join
William Nitzky
California State University, Chico
Politics of Heritage Work in Rural China: Model Minorities in Model Museums
In recent years, heritage institutions throughout the world have reevaluated their mission and role in society. In an attempt to move away from the cultural orthodoxy of traditional museology and top-down heritage management practices, new participatory, inclusionist approaches to “community heritage” and heritage institutional models have emphasised community centrality. In the past twenty years, China has experienced a heritage industry and museum development boom that has not only led to the proliferation of heritage management regulations and policies but also the reconfiguration of museum-community relations. This paper explores the wave of ecomuseum projects implemented in rural China and the implications such intiatives have for creating cultural heritage landscapes and inciting “shared authority” over heritage management. The ecomuseum, a foreign, European concept was adopted by Chinese museum professionals and government agencies in the 1990s to link heritage protection and rural development. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in southwest and eastern China, this paper examines how ecomuseums represent “civic laboratories” (Bennett 2005) steeped in state edicts to preserve cultural landscapes. In detailing the trajectory of ecomuseum projects across different sites, I highlight how ecomuseum development, according to a government-structured models, has shifted from a focus on poverty-alleviation and preserving iconic ethnic minorities in southwest China to rural revitalization and a declaration of China’s social progress through industrial and nostalgic heritage in eastern Han populated regions. Such recognition and the transformation of these locales into ecomuseum projects has begun to reshape the village community and claims over heritage. A comparison of ecomuseum cases allows for a deeper understanding of the conditions and factors that impact modes of community participation in heritage work and what makes ecomuseums matter to local populations.
China, Ethnicity, Rural Development, Heritage, Museum