Archive 2002

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

Trevor Marchand


11 December 2002
Wednesday 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Yemeni men seeking a career in the building trade must negotiate their apprenticeship with a master builder, or usta. Despite the introduction of modern building technologies, the usta continues to manipulate significant power in the production and reproduction of both his trade and Sanaa's distinctive built environment. It is the usta's obligation to ensure that a disciplined comportment and expert knowledge is passed on to select younger members of his team in order to safeguard the integrity of the craft and the reputation of his family name. Based on extensive fieldwork with a team of builders specialised in the erection of mosque minarets, this presentation will discuss both the apprentice's training and the construction process of these magnificent towering edifices.

Dr. Trevor Marchand received his degree in Architecture from McGill University and his PhD at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, where he is currently a Lecturer in Anthropology. He specialises in the study of traditional builders and apprenticeship, and has worked in West Africa and Yemen. He is the author of Minaret Building and Apprenticeship in Yemen (2001) and his new book on The Masons of Djenne is forthcoming

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

Dr. William Guthrie,
Assistant Professor, Humanities Faculty
University of Macau

Send Lawyers, Guns and Money:
The Dark Side of Paper Sacrifices

27 November 2002
Wednesday 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

While the ancient ritual of Chinese paper burning ties families together through the generations, living and dead, the differences in these practices also characterize and even divide certain communities. In Macau, at least, the people who make the paper constructions say that two groups buy the best paper: fishermen and those fishers for men (and women), the Black Society. While very little paperwork is made especially for them, the distinguishing sacrifice, the paper firearm, draws the center of a bulls-eye of connected sacrifices, from submachine guns and gambling equipment to the Dai Lo Bo Ma [Gangster Beemer]. These sacrifices are made and burned all around us in the trading ports of South China. This lecture is a practical field guide to the search for street-level evidence of this traditional subculture. It will also feature many paper examples.

Bill Guthrie is an Assistant Professor in the Humanities Faculty of the University of Macau, where he has taught since 1996. Before that, he was an educational consultant in Hartford Connecticut, founded Profit International Business Magazine (the original capitalist business magazine in Eastern Europe), wrote business planning materials for a silver mining company, worked as a military reporter/editor specializing in Afghanistan, took a PhD in medieval studies from the University of Colorado, and taught archeological excavation technique at a field school at the end of a clay road outside Cimarron, New Mexico.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

Elisabeth Alles

Islam in the Feminine:
Women's Mosques and the Other Face of Islam in China

13 November 2002
Wednesday 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Islam has a long history in China. People think, however, that this religion concerns only the Turkish people of Xinjiang. In fact the Chinese-speaking Muslims, the most important Muslim group, have been spread throughout China since the 13th century.
The Chinese Muslims built many mosques in a Chinese style, and have built mosques for women too, especially in the Central Plain region. Who exactly comes to these mosques? How do the women organize their! religious activities? What is the history of these mosques? How can we explain this almost-unique situation in the world?

Elisabeth Alles is a researcher in Anthropology affiliated to the French National Centre for Scientifc Reseach (CNRS) in Paris. After a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Graduate School of Social Sciences (EHESS) in 1998, she joined the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China at the beginning of 2002. She was born in Algeria in 1952 and has lived in various different places (e.g., Algeria, Guyana, Spain). She began her research on Islam in China in 1991, and has published extensively in French on the topic of Islam in China.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

Barbara Ward Memorial Lecture

G. William Skinner

Reproductive Goals and Family Strategies:
Ethnic Differences in Southeastern China

16 October 2002
Wednesday 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Family systems theory holds that the cultural norms of a group's family system critically inform reproductive goals. This lecture, based on data from a 1% sample of the 1990 Chinese census, explores this in southeastern China, where different ethnic groups have distinctive family systems. I first characterize the family systems of the major ethnic groups in the Lingnan and Southeast Coast macroregions. I then infer the operational principles that would inform reproductive decision-making. Finally, I examine the reproductive behavior of couples, to analyze significant ethnic-group differences appearing in the proportion of complex families, household size, total number of surviving offspring, and gender configuration of surviving offspring. Obviously, while family systems may shape reproductive behavior, they cannot be said to determine it. Culture is not everything, and it is certainly not immutable. Spatial analysis points up the important role of ecology and position in the regional economy in channeling change in both family systems and culturally-rooted reproductive strategies.

G. William Skinner is one of the most well-known anthropologists of China in the world today. He has written and edited numerous books, including Leadership and Power in the Chinese Community in Thailand and The City in Late Imperial China. He has also written scores of articles, the most famous of which is "Marketing and Social Structure in Rural China," extraordinarily influential both in anthropology and sinology. For many years he was Professor of Anthropology at Stanford; today he is Professor at! the University of California, Davis.

Prof. Skinner's visit to Hong Kong was funded by the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund.

Historical Walk in Kowloon City

Guided by eminent local historian Tim Ko

(author of many books on Hong Kong history)

Date: 28th September 2002

Meeing time and place: The Hang Seng Bank inside Lok Fu MTR Station at 10 am

Duration: approximately 3 hours, followed by a self-paying lunch

Until recent years, Kowloon City was notorious for its squalor and crimes. And yet these are only minor compared to its long and remarkable history. The earliest recorded settlment can be traced back to Sung times (from the middle to late 12th century). The area was well developed as a coastal market town centuries before the arrival of the British. Its importance for the entire Kowloon Peninsula surpassed all the other market towns right up until the early 20th century. It was also for centuries the seat of a Chinese government office of one kind or another.

Despite the tremendous development in the 20th century, a number of historical buildings/structures still exist in Kowloon City. This walk will cover Hau Wong Temple and the historical Pak Hok Shan (White Crane Hill) behind it, the restored Yamen inside the Kowloon Walled City Park, and Nga Tsin Wai, the oldest surviving village in Kowloon; it will show a side of Kowloon City that most of us have never before seen.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

The 1970s:
Were They Really Hong Kong's "Golden Age"?

Dr. Lui Tai-lok

September 19, 2002
Thursday 6:30pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

For many people, the 1970s were the golden age of post-war Hong Kong. That era witnessed the rise of social movements, the emergence of a local identity and local culture, the establishment of the ICAC and a change in the nature of colonial governance, economic recovery after the oil shock, and much more. Most important of all, Hong Kong people began to feel good about life in Hong Kong in that decade, as had happened never before, and, some would say, may ever happen again. But was life really that good in the 1970s? As well as giving a presentation on what is already known about Hong Kong in the 1970s, Tai-lok Lui will talk on what he really WANTS to know about that so-called gol! den decade of the MacLehose years. Was life then really as good as they say? Or is that just nostalgia from a cloudy present for an imagined sunny past that really wasn't all that sunny?

Tai-lok Lui teaches Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has written and edited many books, including most recently, in English, The Dynamics of Social Movements in Hong Kong, and Consuming Hong Kong, and in Chinese, Check Please! A Sociologist's Notes on Hong Kong Society.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

Naxi and Ethnic Tourism:
A Study of Homestay Tourism in Lijiang, Yunnan


July 11, 2002
Thursday 6:30pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

This talk is about the Naxi people and ethnic tourism in Lijiang, Yunnan. The focus is on homestay tourism and the strategies adopted by the Naxi in coping with tourists, government bureaus, migrants, and international NGOs. The presentation seeks to explore how ethnic culture survives in the context of the local and the global as forged by tourism and heritage preservation.

Miss WANG Yu is from Yunnan Province, and is now an M.Phil candidate in the Anthropology Department of CUHK; she will be entering the Ph.D. program at Duke University, in the United States, starting next September. She conducted the fieldwork for her master's degree research in Lijiang Old Town for about 3 months last summer. This talk is based on the collected data from her fieldwork.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

Immigrant Life Stories:
New Arrivals from the Mainland in Hong Kong

Nicole Newendorp

June 5, 2002
Wednesday 6:30pm
Hong Kong Museum of History

Current government policy allows 55,000 Mainland Chinese citizens, primarily wives and children of Hong Kong permanent residents, to immigrate to Hong Kong each year. Increasing government and non-government resources have recently been mobilized to help provide solutions to the problems of adaptation faced by these individuals and their families. For the past eight months, the speaker has been conducting dissertation fieldwork as a volunteer member of an international NGO which depends on such local resources to run its social service center for these new arrivals in Sham Shui Po. In this talk, she will discuss her on-going research by introducing the life stories of five immigrants who have all arrived in Hong Kong during the past two years.

Nicole Newendorp is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Harvard University Department of Anthropology and, for the 2001-2 academic year, also an Honorary Research Assistant at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Anthropology Department. Supported by a U.S. National Science Foundation grant, she has been conducting dissertation fieldwork on the subject of newly arrived Chinese immigrants in Hong Kong since September 2001. Her research will continue through June 2002.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

The 2002 Barbara E. Ward Memorial Lecture

"The New Territories: Things As They Are"

The Honorable Sir
David Akers-Jones

Wednesday, May 8, 6:30p.m.
Hong Kong Museum of History

The environment of the New Territories has undergone gradual, but notable change in recent decades. This change includes the virtual disappearance of agriculture, the village housing policy, and the use of New Territories' land for urban dumping. The talk will take up these issues, discussing the historical, political and social "reason" for things as they are.

An appreciation of Barbara E. Ward, given by Dr. Janet Lee Scott, will precede the lecture.

The Barbara E. Ward Lecture will be given in English.

Sir David Akers-Jones arrived in Hong Kong in l957, having spent three years in Malaya, and after a brief spell in the Commerce and Industry Department was appointed as Tsuen Wan District Officer in 1959. He then served as District Officer in the Islands and Yuen Long Districts and become Deputy Chief Commissioner in 1967. He became Secretary for the New Territories in l973, Chief Secretary in l985, and served as Acting Governor on several occasions in the l980s and l990s.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

"Up in Smoke: Offerings for the Dead and the Living in Modern Hong Kong"

Dr. Janet Lee Scott

Wednesday, April 10, 7:00p.m.
Hong Kong Museum of History

A most vibrant aspect of life in modern Hong Kong is the celebration of traditional Chinese culture, a celebration which includes an increasing appreciation of the traditional material culture of everyday life. One especially significant category of traditional material culture is the complement of ritual paper offerings accompanying the ritual events, great and small, public and private, of the ritual year. Paper offerings are burned to deities, ghosts and to ancestors, with the aims of expressing gratitude, seeking assistance, alleviating the misery of neglected souls, and caring for the deceased: aims reflecting traditional cultural and social values. The talk concerns the paper offerings for the honorable dead, the ancestors, and will consider the ideological basis for the giving of offerings and the meaning of the objects themselves. The talk will be illustrated with examples of current offerings.

The talk will follow the AGM (which begins at 6:30p.m.) and will be given in English.

Dr. Janet Lee Scott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Hong Kong Baptist University. She took both her MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University and has been teaching in Hong Kong since l980. She is currently a Council Member of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and a History Advisor (Ethnography) to the Leisure and Cultural Services Branch. Research into paper offerings was supported by an Earmarked Grant for Research.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

"The Gawai of the Dayaks: The Harvest Festival of the Suku Kantu"

Dr. Tiziana Ciavardini

Thursday, March 14, 6:30
Hong Kong Museum of History

In the European imagination, the island of Borneo has commonly been associated with mystery, danger and excitement; images created by European travelers and adventurers. While the native inhabitants of Borneo are usually referred to as "Dayaks", a name derived from words meaning "native" or "inland" people, the Dayaks are members of tribes culturally and linguistically diverse, and attempts to classify them into neat categories have not been successful. The talk will focus on a tribe called the Suku Kantu, located in the province of West Kalimantan (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesian Borneo), where research was conducted in the village of Pala-Pulao near Putussibau. Among the Suku Kantu, the festival after the harvest is held between April and June and is called the Gawai, meaning "to be busy at work." The spirits and deities responsible for agriculture are welcomed and celebrated, and their aid invoked, so that their supernatural powers may protect the Kantu from the malign intention of spirits. The festival is also a time of celebration, visiting among relatives and friends, and marriages, as people celebrate a good year.

Dr. Tiziana Ciavardini is a cultural anthropologist and graduate of La Sapienza of Rome. She has spent over seven years in Southeast Asia, with fieldwork concentrating in West Kalimantan Borneo among the Suku Kantu, and has authored academic articles in both English and Italian. She is currently writing a book on the Dayak, and travels regularly to West Kalimantan.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

"Underground Bands and Subcultural Politics in Post-1997 Hong Kong"

Dr. Eric Kit-wai MA

Thursday, February 21, 6:30
Hong Kong Museum of History

Local underground bands have recently been surfacing as distinctive post-1997 alternative lifestyle options for teenagers. They are critical of mainstream middle-class ideologies, and their music serves as a symbolic means for cultural differentiation and resistance. They generate strong emotional energies that mix with populist anti-government sentiments of the larger society. Yet these sub-cultural forms are quickly absorbed by consumerism to the point that their resistive postures seem quickly to become fashionable lifestyle commodities. The talk will present ethnographic data on the most prominent such band, LMF, to better understand the phenomenon, and will discuss the speaker's attempts to understand the band and its audience and their positions within Hong Kong Society today.

Eric Kit-wai MA is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of seven books on the popular culture of Hong Kong, most recently in English, Culture, Politics and Television in Hong Kong (Routledge 1999), and in Chinese, two books on Hong Kong's alternative music scene.

The Hong Kong Anthropological Society and The Hong Kong Museum of History

"Consuming China in post-Communist Europe: Chinese Restaurants in the Czech Republic"

Ms. Marketa Mezlikova-Moore

Thursday, January 31, 6:30
Hong Kong Museum of History

Scholarly work on Chinese catering has focused on such topics as: the business and organizational aspects of ethnic enterprises, the role of ethnic niches as survival strategies in host economies, and the role of family and kin relationships in establishing and maintaining the business. Little attention has been paid to the functions of Chinese restaurants within Chinese communities as well as the meanings these restaurants, as showcases of ethnic culture, produced and
communicated to the host society. Establishing restaurants was vitally important for the Chinese community, not only as a principle business and migration strategy, but also as a creation of a primary social and cultural space, a reproduction of local (home) space in a foreign environment. Using James Watson's metaphor of Chinese restaurants as "islands of Chinese culture", the talk will discuss how these "islands" were created and how they functioned. It will include a brief ! analysis of meanings and images communicated by the Chinese restaurants useful for understanding how a new cultural tradition within the host society was invented.

Ms. Mezlikova-Moore studied Chinese language and literature at Charles University in Prague. Graduating in l992 with a B.A. in Chinese Language from Beijing Language Institute, she then received her M.A. in Chinese Studies from Charles University in l994. She has worked as an interpreter for Chinese migrants and is currently working on her Ph.D. in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Hong Kong.


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