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Friday, January 19

State Fictions and the Friction of Frontier Terrain: Songpan and the Huanglong Pilgrimage since Ming Times
3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Professor Donald Sutton
4130 Wesley W Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center

What can the long history of a Sino-Tibetan region tell us about China’s frontiers? This talk develops themes of comparative interest from Contesting the Yellow Dragon: Ethnicity, Religion and the State by Xiaofei Kang and Donald S. Sutton, Brill (CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of 2016). Officialdom from Ming times to the PRC reform period worked to overcome the ‘friction of terrain’ (in James C. Scott’s expression) in remote Songpan, handicapped by limited resources and their own ideological assumptions. But the same handicaps, and the peculiar unfolding of local history, helped locals to find space for their own political and cultural expressions, producing a frontier identity not quite like any other.