2016-2017 Colloquium Series
The Tourism Studies Working Group
and the Center for Chinese Studies
are pleased to announce
ETHNIC BY DESIGN:
Branding a Buyi Cultural Landscape
in Late-Socialist Southwest China
Yu Luo, Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Chinese Studies, UC Berkeley
Friday, February 10, 5:00 PM
Gifford Room, 221 Kroeber Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Based on 18 months of fieldwork between 2012 and 2013, this talk highlights ethnic branding among the Tai-speaking Buyi (Bouyei) in Guizhou Province, southwest China. In a region that seeks to battle against its relatively modest level of development by treasuring minority culture as heritage and promoting tourism development, various ethnic groups are eagerly jockeying for regional and national positioning. Historically more Sinicized in public perception, Buyi face a contemporary conundrum: they are not "exotic" enough. "Ethnic by design" thus captures the conscious fashioning of cultural identity by which Buyi quests for "uniqueness" align with both the language and institutional power of the state as well as new market forces. As Chineseness is being redesigned with energy and ambivalence at this juncture of late-socialism, this talk engages with the study of ethnicity, cultural preservation, and the anthropology of the state in the early 21st century.
Yu Luo is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies, UC Berkeley. She holds a Bachelor's degree in environmental economics from Beijing University, and a doctoral degree in sociocultural anthropology from Yale University. Luo's dissertation examines the paradox of ethnic branding that is entangled with heritage-tourism schemes and state-market forces in Guizhou Province, southwest China. Her recent publications include a forthcoming article in Modern China on Guizhou's provincial identity and its eco-cultural brand, as well as a co-authored chapter on representations of Chinese minorities in the Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China. She is also the 2016 recipient of the Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Prize awarded by the Society for Applied Anthropology.