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2020-2021 Colloquium Series

The Tourism Studies Working Group is pleased to present

Impacts of Tourism on Health, Wellness, and Perceptions of Health in Mosuo Communities of Southwest China

Tami Blumenfield*
Kui Ge Scholar of Ethnology, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Yunnan University
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Ethnology, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

Friday, April 16, 4PM-6PM PST
Hosted on Zoom [click here]

This presentation discusses intersections between health, wellness, tourism, movement, consumption, embodied capital, illness, clinics, hospitals, danger, and ideas about quality that are reshaping practices in Mosuo communities in southwest China. Within a single generation, childbirth has nearly completely shifted to hospital settings, and pills, surgeries and IV drips are within reach of nearly everyone; but daba healers and ritual specialists, along with monks, remain critical to a cosmology of healing that relies on communication with ancestors and appeasement of spirits, in addition to biomedicalized treatments. Whether people tend to rely more or less on non-biomedicalized rituals is related to their family income levels and their home's location relative to the tourism epicenter of Lugu Lake -- but in less predictable ways than one might expect. Based on intensive and extensive qualitative research conducted in 2017 as part of a three-country, seven-institution National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Research Grant investigating dynamics of market transition, the presentation will include excerpts from video interviews as well as discussion of why complications of translating and defining terms make developing consistent conclusions a fraught and complicated project.

*Siobhan M. Mattison and Mary K. Shenk are project collaborators and paper co-authors.  

Speaker Bio
Tami Blumenfield is an anthropologist, filmmaker, archivist and cultural translator based in Greenville, South Carolina. Her work in southwest China explores the dynamics of changing communities, focusing on gender, heritage, media, tourism, identity, food systems, ecology, and inequality. She is a Kuige Scholar of Ethnology in the Center for Borderlands Studies at Yunnan University and is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Ethnology at the University of New Mexico. Blumenfield holds PhD and MA degrees in Sociocultural Anthropology and an International Development Policy & Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Her research and filming work has been supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, two Fulbright fellowships, the American Association of University Women, and the Association for Asian Studies. Blumenfield has appeared on NBC's The Today Show and helped produce pieces for National Geographic Television and the BBC. She is co-editor of Cultural Heritage Politics in China (with Helaine Silverman) and of Doing Fieldwork in China…With Kids! The Dynamics of Fieldwork in the People’s Republic (with Candice Cornet). Since 2018 she has served as President of the Cool Mountain Education Fund, an organization that supports gender-informed education and health projects in China’s Nuosu communities.

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