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“Ethnic relations and ideas of civilization in China’s Southwest” by Dr. Magnus Fiskesjö (June 9)

2015/06/09 @ 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

20150609_abstDate:June 9 (Tue), 11:30-13:30(Please bring your own lunch)

Venue:Tonan-tei (Room 201), Inamori Foundation Memorial Building, Kyoto University

Speaker:Dr. Magnus Fiskesjö (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology,Cornell University)

Title:The Southern Great Wall: Drawing the Line Between Raw and Cooked Barbarians

The northern Great Walls of China are widely known, but the project of the Ming and Qing imperial Chinese courts to copy the northern wall-building on the southern “barbarian” frontier remains almost unknown in scholarly circles. In this paper I review the Ming and Qing-era history of the construction and maintenance of an anti-barbarian wall, the “Miao frontier border wall,” in what today is the Miao and Tujia borderland of the modern Hunan and Guizhou provinces. I discuss various theories put forward mainly by Chinese local historians to explain this wall project, which started in the 15th century. I also present my own understanding that the wall represented an attempt to further the assimilation of so-called “Cooked” (熟 shu) barbarians “inside” the wall, while also at the same time imposing an important symbolic framing as “Raw” (生 sheng) barbarians of the people left beyond the wall. Finally, I discuss the curious present-day afterlife of the “Southern Great Wall” as a tourist attraction.


11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
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