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CUSAS Talk: Dr Jenny Chio

When Nov 03, 2016
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Edmund Leach Seminar Room, Division of Social Anthropology
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Dr Jenny Chio (Emory University)

Designing Development: Spectacle and Power in a Chinese Ethnic Tourism Village

For residents of Upper Jidao, a Miao village in rural southeast Guizhou Province, China, the past decade and a half of tourism development in the region can be boiled down to one single suggestion: make a spectacle of yourselves. The spectacle of the rural and the ethnic in tourism – the finely dressed performers, the renovated village architecture – is usually considered the necessary means to the desired end result of boosting local economies. In this essay, I examine how architectural renderings constitute a world-making practice of and in rural ethnic China and how they illuminate underlying ideologies about sociocultural difference. By analyzing these drawings alongside ethnographic observations from long- term fieldwork in the village, this essay sheds light on the embedded relations of power, status, and agentive potential enabled by this kind of spectacular development.

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