Evolving humanity, emerging worlds
Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013
Living heritage in China today
Location Kanaris Theatre, Museum
Date and Start Time 07 Aug, 2013 at 09:00
This panel is concerned with the lived experience of cultural heritage policies and globalization in contemporary China. It invites contributions based on in-depth ethnographic research that explore the social consequences of current heritage developments, conflicts and practices.
The aim of this panel is to look at some of the pressing questions of the globalization of cultural heritage through presenting recent research on the lived experience of cultural heritage policies in China today. China has an extensive system of laws and policies aimed at preserving intangible and tangible heritage at both national and regional/city levels, as well as numerous institutions and practices for preserving or enhancing cultural heritage. These range from academic departments dealing with cultural heritage management techniques and the development of conservation, through to associations for training in certain forms of traditional artistic production, and support for travel by dance troupes or musicians. A growth of tourism - both by domestic and international tourists - has also encouraged the maintenance and performance of traditional culture. At the same time, however, major building programmes - that simultaneously entail the destruction of older buildings or areas - are underway in many parts of China. There is also continuing urbanization and movement of young people in particular away from rural areas, thus weakening traditional forms of transmission of cultural knowledge and offering alternative ways of living.
The panel convenors invite contributions based on in-depth research that explore different dimensions of the lived experience heritage developments, conflicts and practices in contemporary China.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
The Materialist Urbanization and the War of Gods
The paper, in the first place, examines the role of spirituality and belief played in the struggle over the material space in the process of China's urbanization, especially the so-called "transforming the urban villages in city" (chengzhongcun gaizao).
These gods partake in the fight for spaces in the demolishment campaigns, thus being renewed and strengthened by different players. I will provide a description of these war of "gods", and explore human spirituality and belief intermingled in the war against materials in a time of "materialization."
The second theme of the paper is to interpret 'Home' （家园）, a frequent key symbol in the process of China's urbanization and urban redevelopment. In recent years, it has become a common practice for Chinese citizens to resort to the slogan of 'protecting our homes' in their campaigns to protect their legitimate rights and interests.
'Home protection' is in line with the basic political doctrine in Chinese socio-cultural discourse. For example, it goes with the idea of 'protecting one's life and one's own home'（保护身家性命）. At present, the politics of ordinary people and their political life starts with how they feel about their homes and how they protect them. The concept of 'home' thus does not go well with such fashionable concepts as community, civil society, or 'individual-society' in socio-political theories. When 'home' becomes the starting point of substratum political practice, socio-political theories should consider a paradigm shift to the study of 'body, home and nation/country'. For example, a political study on opposing officialdom should start with the experience of 'body-home', replacing the idea of 'state -society' and the polarized social theory of 'individual vs. society' with a framework of 'body, home, nation/country and universe（身家国天下）'.
Local Histories and New Museological Approaches in China
398 new museums were born in China in 2011, half of which represent the recent trend in new museology in China. This paper introduces these new local museums that offer traditionally unrepresented and unofficial local histories through the display of oral histories and collective memories.
We are becoming increasingly aware of museum boom and new trends of museum movement in China, yet a theoretically informed and methodologically systematic study assessing the meaning of new museum practices is still lacking. This paper investigates China new museum movement by diachronic and synchronic approaches, and tells what is happening in China right now within the development of new museological approaches. In 2011, 398 museums were established in China making the list now come to approximately 3700 nation-wide. Almost half of these new museums are about local village history. They represent a foundation upon which the construction of new interpretations and expressions of local histories are made and displayed, specifically rooted in oral history and collective memory. These local history museums are a new approach to museology in China in that they offer an unofficial history of local place and society, unlike traditional museums that promote national history narratives. From these local history museums, we can learn the multiple histories and life of local villages and villagers that have historically been unrepresented in Chinese museums. Looking at specific practices among these new museums, this paper introduces the change in museological approaches in China, specifically reviewing the shift in museological philosophy in the evaluation of objects, museology, technological practices, and curatorial methods recently introducing the protection of intangible cultural heritage. This paper will also address how the focus of local exhibitions has changed from displaying a macro history to now local stories and memories, providing a living history.
The New Chinese Museology: sihting borders and alterantive heritages
China has committed resources to a large museum/theme park development plan with support from international agencies and support.Yet these developments raise alternatives to well established ideas of collecting and preserving pasts in China.
China has committed resources to a large museum/theme park development plan with support from international agencies and support. Yet it occurs at the same time as the huge destruction of urban and rural landscapes. The paradox relates to a deeper question of the role of museums in development , in the branding of cities having heritage value and the long term role of museums relating to well established ideas of collecting and preserving pasts in China.
The Future of the Past: The Interplay of Imaginaries Shaping Heritage Spaces of Xi'an
This paper examines heritage development of Xi'an. It explores three main questions: what impact does heritage have as a soft power in urban regeneration; what kind of imaginaries are produced and negotiated by actors involved, and how do these imaginaries shape the heritage spaces of Xi'an?
This project builds on eight years of ethnographic research and consultancy experience on heritage tourism development in urban China. The development of heritage tourism in historical cities of China is regarded as a vital ingredient of urban regeneration by state and local governments. In Xi'an, the imperial capital of thirteen dynasties of Chinese history, the construction of a modern landscape catapulted the city from an isolated entity to the globalized world system. Guided by a fifty-year governmental city plan, the densely populated inner city (including the Muslim Quarter) of Xi'an is currently being transformed into a functioning replica of the Tang-era Imperial City to reconstruct the glorious past of Chinese civilization. This study will examine the impact of heritage as a soft power in urban regeneration; the multiplicity of imaginaries that are produced and negotiated by actors involved in heritage tourism, and the way these imaginaries shape the heritage spaces of Xi'an. It will involve the topics of heritage governance, tourism production and consumption, social practices of the Chinese middle class, and the representation of local identity. The research will have broad relevance to the issues of political and social change, and the classification of social spaces in China. This study will also clarify the role of culture heritage in the rapidly shifting urban landscape of China, by zooming in on China's efforts to embrace globalization and modernization and to implement nationalism through defining and legitimizing heritage consumption and commercialization.
ʻLandscapesʼ in Pictures: Visible and Invisible in Minority Tourism of Dai People
In contemporary China, visible images, which are taken or made from minority tour, on the one hand, transform memorial and ritual interpretation by means of photos and videos ; on the other hand, all kinds of images not only involve the meanings of tourist gaze but present different deep-seated ideologies of different interest groups; further more, also represent interesting relations between tangible materials and corporeal images. I would like to analysis and interpret them with my case-study of Dai, in Yunnan, China.
In contemporary China, images are playing a vey important role in minority tourism. The two parts integrated together, and even can not be separated from each other. Meanwhile, with the decolonisation and postmodernism, meanings of photos in tour are also getting a great change. Visible images, which are taken or made from minority tour, on the one hand, transform memorial and ritual interpretation by means of photos and videos ; on the other hand, all kinds of images not only involve the meanings of tourist gaze but present different deep-seated ideologies of different interest groups; further more, also represent interesting relations between tangible materials and corporeal images. I would like to analysis and interpret them with my case-study of Dai, in Yunnan, China.
Shadow Play in Guanzhong Area (1978~2008): A Case Study for Culture Heritage in China's Rural Area
From the view of sociology, this report tries to study the discipline of social-cultural changes, setting on the case of Hua’xian Shadow Play. We propose the perspective endogenous of China's rural social and cultural.
The rural area development is one of the most crucial problems in nowadays China. As we know, the inner structure of rural community and the rural policies of the nation are affecting the individual village from within and above, so the policies coming from outside world can hardly join the metabolism system of rural society. From the view of sociology, this report tries to study the discipline of social-cultural changes, setting on the case of Hua'xian Shadow Play. We propose the perspective endogenous of China's rural social and cultural. And try on the logic among the mode of production, lifestyle, demographic composition and cultural consumption patterns. Then we do some thinking on the structural changes of the rural culture of thinking.
Practice & Research on Recovery of Traditional Chinese Xuan Paper Technology
Paper is one of the four great inventions in ancient China and also plays a key role in the world modernization together with printing.The core objective of this documentary project is to utilize local natural materials and traditional technology to recover the making flow of high-quality Xuan paper.
Paper is one of the four great inventions in ancient China and also plays a key role in the world modernization together with printing. Meanwhile, Xuan paper makes contributions to development of Chinese traditional painting art, as the thousand-year Xuan paper preserves painting works perfectly and makes it possible to hand these works down from generation to generation. However, only the paper strictly made according to traditional technology can display the creation of painters maximally and has longer lifetime. The core objective of this documentary project is to utilize local natural materials and traditional technology to recover the making flow of high-quality Xuan paper.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.