Chinese Folklore Studies Today

Chinese Folklore Studies Today

Discourse and Practice
Foreword by Chao Gejin, edited by Lijun Zhang and Ziying You
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/13/2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-04409-9
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Chinese folklorists are well acquainted with the work of their English-language colleagues, but until recently the same could not be said about American scholars’ knowledge of Chinese folkloristics. Chinese Folklore Studies Today aims to address this knowledge gap by illustrating the dynamics of contemporary folklore studies in China as seen through the eyes of the up-and-coming generation of scholars. Contributors to this volume focuses on topics that have long been the dominant areas of folklore studies in China, including myth, folk song, and cultural heritage, as well as topics that are new to the field, such as urban folklore and women’s folklore. The ethnographic case studies presented here represent a broad range of geographic areas within mainland China and also introduce English-language readers to relevant Chinese literature on each topic, creating the foundation for further cross-cultural collaborations between English-language and Chinese folkloristics.

Author Bio

Lijun Zhang is Research Associate at Mathers Museum of World Cultures at Indiana University. She is author (with Marsha MacDowell) of Quilts of Southwest China.

Ziying You is Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at The College of Wooster. She is coeditor of a special issue for the journal Asian Ethnology, titled Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia: Traditions in Transition.


“An excellent contribution to the communication between Chinese and American folklorists that reflects important aspects of current studies on Chinese folklore from the eyes of young folklorists. This book is an important and a necessary supplement to those publications on Chinese folklore studies in English which have mainly been written and organized by senior Chinese folklorists.”
 — Lihui Yang, author (with Deming An) of Handbook of Chinese Mythology

“The strength of this volume lies in its display of the diversity of contemporary scholarship on Chinese folklore in a relatively small number of articles. Rather than focus on senior scholars or "classics," the volume features the work of younger scholars and its greatest innovation is that each essay focuses both on the history of scholarship on a specific genre or topic and contemporary ethnographic work by the author. This provides the reader with both an understanding of the history of folklore scholarship within China, as well as a glimpse into recent ethnographic study.”
 — Michael Ann Williams, author of Homeplace: The Social Use and Meaning of the Folk Dwelling in Southwestern North Carolina

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Table of Contents

Foreword / Chao Gejin


Introduction: History and Trends of Chinese Folklore Studies / Lijun Zhang and Ziying You

1. Disciplinary Tradition, Everyday Life, and Childbirth Negotiation: The Past and Present of Chinese Urban Folklore Studies / Yongyi Yue, Translated by Wenyuan Shao and Yuanhao Zhao

2. From "Women" to "Female Folklore Practitioners": The History and Current Trend of Women’s Folklore Studies in China / Junxia Wang

3. A Semiotics of Song: Fusing Lyrical and Social Narratives in Contemporary China / Levi S. Gibbs

4. Contested Myth, History, and Beliefs: Remaking Yao and Shun’s Stories in Hongtong, Shanxi / Ziying You

5. Institutional Practice of Heritage-Making: The Transformation of Tulou from Residential Home to UNESCO World Heritage / Lijun Zhang