Fieldwork Connections tells the story of the intertwined research histories of three anthropologists working in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China in the late twentieth century. Chapters are written alternately by a male American anthropologist, a male researcher raised in a village in Liangshan, and a highly educated woman from an elite Nuosu/Chinese family. As decades of mutual ethnographic research unfold, the authors enter one another's narratives and challenge the reader to ponder the nature of ethnographic “truth.”
The book begins with short accounts of the process by which each of the authors became involved in anthropological field research. It then proceeds to describe the research itself, and the stories begin to connect as they become active collaborators. The scene shifts in the course of the narrative from China to America, and the relationship between the authors shifts from distant, wary, and somewhat hierarchical to close, egalitarian, and reciprocal.
The authors share their histories through personal stories, not technical analyses; their aim is to entertain while addressing the process of ethnography and the dynamics of international and intercultural communication.
About the Author
Bamo Ayi is an anthropologist and scholar of comparative religion. She is deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Department, State Nationalities Commission, and professor of philosophy at Central Nationalities University, Beijing. Stevan Harrell is an anthropologist and translator. He is professor of anthropology at the University of Washington. Ma Lunzy is an ethnologist, historian, author, and curator. He is deputy director of Liangshan Minorities Research Institute.
Table of Contents
Preface to the English EditionAcknowledgments
Part One: Origins1. Growing up Half Yi / Bamo Ayi2. In the Shadow of the Han / Ma Lunzy3. A White Guy Discovers Anthropology / Stevan Harrell
Part Two: China4. Yinchang: My First Fieldwork, 1987-88 / Bamo Ayi5. Getting Started in Southwest China, 1987-88 / Stevan Harrell6. Chasing after Bimo, 1992-93 / Bamo Ayi7. Getting Started Again, 1991 / Stevan Harrell8. First Contact, 1991 / Ma Lunzy9. Almost Real Fieldwork, 1993 / Stevan Harrell10. In the Month of the Snake , 1993 / Ma Lunzy11. Fieldwork with Muga, 1994 / Bamo Ayi12. Getting Further Implicated, 1994 / Stevan Harrell13. The Last Time I Led the Horse, 1994 / Ma Lunzy14. The Bimo in the Modern World, 1994-95 / Bamo Ayi
Part Three: America15. The First International Yi Conference, 1995 / Ma Lunzy16. Seattle First Free Methodist Church, 1996-97 / Bamo Ayi17. Collecting Mountain Patterns, 1999 / Ma Lunzy18. Conceptualizing Mountain Patterns, 2000 / Bamo Qubumo19. Celebrating Mountain Patterns, 2000 / Stevan Harrell
Epilogue: Fieldwork Connections and the Process of Ethnography / Stevan Harrell
Cast of CharactersChinese and Nuosu GlossaryBibliographyIndex
What People are Saying About This
I used Fieldwork Connections in my Chinese Ethnographies course last quarter, and the students really liked it. Both the students and I thought that it gave them a much better idea of field research methods and issues than other ethnographies had done. They also liked the comparison of different researchers experiences with each other, in China, and in the US. It sparked some very productive seminar discussion about research methods and ethics. I strongly recommend it. .