13:00-14:00 “Life Historical Narrations and the Framing of the Subjectivity and Identity of the Rural Immigrants in East Guizhou (1930-2010)” by Prof. Mei-Ling Chien (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan)
14:00-14:10 Comments by Wakana Sato (Niigata University of International and Information Studies)
14:10–15:00 General discussion
Mei-Ling Chien is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at National Chiao Tung University. Her special fields include kinship, gender and the anthropology of emotions among the Miao (Hmub) in Southwest China. She is the author of the book, Sentiment and Marriage among the Miao in Eastern Guizhou (Guiyang: Guizhou University Press, 2009) and the co-editor of the book, the Hakka: Formation and Transformation(Hsinchu: National Chiao Tung University Press, 2010).
With regards to the phenomena of the rise of China, the mass immigration from the rural areas to township or urban cities is one of the most apparent and significant contemporary social and collective experiences in mainland China. However personal and biographical experiences may also find its peculiar way to understand such a macro phenomenon. This presentation, continuing from my long term ethnographic studies on Miao (Hmub, a cognate of Hmong) villages in the highlands of eastern Guizhou since 1997, aims to explore the subjective experiences and identity through the personal histories and narratives of the Miao (Hmub) language speaking migrants. Narratives of life history express not only the data collection, examination and analysis of the biography of people but also the performance, existence and language practice related to persons. This presentation especially aims to describe and discuss how the different generations of Hmub migrants frame their own subjectivity and identity through speaking their life histories. That is, this presentation will further describe and discuss what and how if the variations of the framing of migrant experience relate to the historical contexts across the following four periods: from the years of 1930-1940 (before the Chinese Civil War), 1950-1970 (the socialist transformation period), 1980-2000 (economic reform and development period), to that of 2000-2010 (“the Rise of China”). The empirical data of this presentation is based on the methods of in-depth interview, participant observation and historical research.
Keywords: life history, narratives, rural immigrant, migrant, subjective experiences and identity, Miao (Hmub), Southwest China
Wakana Sato, Niigata University of International and Information Studies (wsato[at]nuis.ac.jp)