Seminar: Tang Yun ” The Anxiety of ‘Rootlessness’: Identity Politics and Neo-Heritage in Chengdu after the Wenchuan Earthquake of 2008″

Ethnologue invitée par le Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, Tang Yun (Southwest University for Nationalities, Chengdu, Chine ; actuellement chercheuse invitée à Oxford) présentera une conférence intitulée :

« The Anxiety of ‘Rootlessness’: Identity Politics and Neo-Heritage in Chengdu (Sichuan, China) after the Wenchuan Earthquake of 2008 ».

Cette conférence est ouverte à tous. Venez nombreux!


  • Mercredi 31 mai 2017 de 10h à 12h


  • EHESS – Salle BS1_28 (1er sous-sol)
    54 boulevard Raspail – 75006 Paris

Résumé de la conférence

The Earthquake of 2008 in Sichuan not only dramatically changed landscapes, but also brought a new movement of construction to the affected region. This new movement welcomes enormous investment as well as a new trend of urbanization, reinvention of heritage and transformations of locality. Chengdu, as the capital of Sichuan, is the field where all discourses, practices and experiments interact.
To understand what happened to Chengdu people’s daily life and how people embedded themselves in these processes, this talk presents three case studies, which together present a holistic view on Chengdu, covering the dimensions of economy, politics, ethnic relations, history and etc.
The first case study is on Shuijingfang, a famous provincial heritage site located in the city center. In the last decades, this community was transformed by several urban plans, especially the latest one carried out by a government sponsored heritage project and a tourist development company’s development. Most of the former neighborhoods were moved into different parts of the city, while the few that remained struggled to reshape their memory of their locality in this new landscape.
The second case study is on Kunshan, a pilot community/village in The Campaign to Build a New Socialist Countryside and the later Campaign of Urban-Rural Integration. The former villagers became new citizens, leaving their old houses and being resettled into the ‘new village’ designed by urban planners; giving up agriculture and renting their fields to some companies to plant trees and flowers; balancing their new identity of citizen with their ‘old’ rural lifestyle.

The third case study is on the ‘new’ trend of migration in Chengdu. Migrants are not new to Chengdu citizens. Some of them came from the more remote and ‘backward’ minority areas. But since 2008, more migrants have rushed into Chengdu in the neo-liberal economy encouraged in post-earthquake construction. Many of them gradually formed ‘ethnic communities’ in the city. But urban life was never easy for them. To adapt to urban life and overcome all difficulties in the city, they sought their cultural tradition from their hometown. Take Yi as an example. They introduced and modified some Yi traditional rituals into their urban life. Those rituals are for pacifying souls that are believed to be responsible for their misfortunes.
In conclusion, this talk will give some reflections on: (1) the hybridity of cities in contemporary China; (2) the nature of hierarchic relationship between urban and rural communities; (3) identity politics embedded in the post-quake construction and neo-heritage movement.

Présentation de Tang Yun

Tang Yun est anthropologue, spécialisée sur le Sud-Ouest de la Chine. Ses sujets de recherche portent sur le paysage, l’environnement, la catastrophe et la religion populaire. Depuis 2010 elle est professeure associée à la School of Ethnological Studies au sein de la Southwest University for Nationalities (Chengdu, China). Elle est vice directeur du Center for Anthropology and Ethnology Research (SWUN) et éditrice du Journal of Southwest University for Nationalities. Depuis le mois d’octobre 2016, et ce pour un an, elle est chercheuse invitée à la School of Anthropology et au Musée d’ethnologie de l’université d’Oxford (UK).
Dans le cadre de sa recherche doctorale (2005-2008), elle a analysé des questions traitant du paysage, des légendes et de l’historicité dans le corridor Tibeto-Yi (Sud-Ouest de la Chine). De nombreuses enquêtes de terrain dans la région lui ont permis d’ouvrir ses intérêts de recherche à l’anthropologie de l’environnement, les disaster studies, ou encore la religion. Depuis 2012 elle travaille sur le culte des montagnes sacrées, le paysage, les mythes et les pratiques religieuses au Kham (l’une des trois provinces traditionnelles du Tibet).

Elle a dirigé le projet “Local Experience and the Construction of Long-term Scientific Measure of Disaster Control in Southwest China” qui fut financé par le National Social Science Fund (Chine). Elle participe actuellement au projet international “The Local in China’s Heritage: Theoretical and Methodological Reflections” financé par le Leverhulme Trust (UK).

Tang Yun a publié deux ouvrages en chinois :

  • “In the Name of Mountain: The Landscape, Rumor and Historicity in the Cultural Contact in Central Guizhou” (2008) Beijing : The Ethnic Publishing House.
  • “Stone of Otherness: the Ritual, Landscape, and Perception of Disaster” (2016) Beijing : The Ethnic Publishing House.
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