Yi Studies on the Move

by on Friday, 01 November 2013 Comments

In 1995, a group of scholars, from the Yi and Han nationalities as well as from a few countries outside China, gathered at University of Washington in Seattle, at the initiative of Professor Stevan Harrell.

Their goal? Develop the study of the Yi minority, one of the most numerous ethnic groups of Southwest China, through networking, common research topics and the training of younger scholars.

The second conference was held at Trier University in 1998. This was also the time when some among these scholars launched the Yangjuan school project, well known to the readers of eRenlai. From the start, the school was not conceived of only as a "social' project but as a field of encounters, which indeed helped Yi, Han and foreign young scholars to experience and interact.


In October 24-26 October the VIth conference of Yi studies took place at Soutwest China Ethnic University.

This time, not only were Yi scholars constituting the large minorities of participants, but also younger scholars, some of them partly trained abroad, were the ones setting the tone.

Besides the study of traditional Yi culture, the environment, governance, modern Yi literature and multimedia creation were among the topics being discussed.

Liang Zhun, of the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute in Fudan, presented the documentary "Mourning and Playing, Rituals of the Minorities of Soutwest China" that she completed last year in collaboration with the Taipei Ricci Institute. The documentary reflects on four specific rituals, which she shot from 2009 on.

Watch the trailer of the documentary here:

Benoit Vermander introduced his latest research on Yi religion, and chaired panels on the subject. All participants were unanimous in thanking Southwest China Ethnic University for organizing a most welcoming and very professional conference. The way Yi scholars took in charge the preparation and animation of the conference was the best sign that Yi studies are clearly on the move.


Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of eRenlai.com


Tweets @cerisefive

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