Archive 2013
     
             
     

THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Joseph BOSCO

Shampoo in China: Development, consumerism and modernity

Thursday 12 December 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

This talk seeks to understand consumerism by examining the rapid adoption of shampoo in China since 1979. Before the economic reforms, the same bar soap used for laundry was used for washing the body and hair, and it was rationed. In the 1980s, many domestic soap and shampoo brands emerged, but after 1986, products made by multinational companies became popular. Many consumer advocates in the West have argued that the quality differences between different brands are slight. Yet some "foreign" brands (made in China) cost three times or more than local brands. Why are people willing to pay a premium for fancy soap and shampoo, when in most cases only the user knows what type of soap he/she has used? Why pay more when most consumers cannot tell the difference? What images and ideals are consumers buying with each bar or bottle? What does the rapid adoption of shampoo in China tell us about consumerism and the prospects for sustainable development?

Joseph Bosco teaches anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by MAK, Sau Wa, Veronica

Health, morality, and infant feeding: Hong Kong mothers' experiences of formula milk use

Wednesday 20 November 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Internationally, how mothers feed their babies arouses academic interest, public discussions and stimulates health policy initiatives. The common discourse in advanced countries, like Britain, affirms the mantra 'breast is best'. The pro-breastfeeding message has been considered an aspect of morality which stereotypes the mothers who feed their babies with formula milk in significant ways. However, in Hong Kong since 2010, the provision of formula milk to the babies is not only considered as the moral responsibility of the parents, but has further been advocated as a basic right of its citizens. This article uses this phenomenon as a lens to discuss health, morality and identity. By discussing some findings from a study about Hong Kong's mothers' experiences of breast-feeding and using formula milk for infant feeding, this paper endeavors to explore the political and socio-cultural factors in explaining the contrasting differences in the idea of morality and maternal identity under the influence of the institutions of medicine.

Veronica Mak teaches anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Paul O'Connor

Hajj: The modern pilgrimage to Mecca and stories from Hong Kong Pilgrims

Wednesday 16 October 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is both a sacred religious rite and an incredible human and logistical feat. This talk explores the hajj in the 21st century, explaining both the ancient rites and the experiences of Muslims making the pilgrimage from Hong Kong. How do Muslims prepare to make hajj, what are the challenges of the modern pilgrimage, and what can we learn about hajj from the Hong Kong perspective? Through a variety of accounts we come to see the profound spiritual journey that Muslims encounter and also the more quotidian challenges of the pilgrimage. Whilst travel to Mecca has become more accessible, affordable and less hazardous over the centuries, it continues to pose numerous challenges. In exploring these issues, a series of connections is made between the lives of Muslims and the rhythms of the modern globalized Mecca.

Paul O'Connor is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Anthropology Department, where he teaches a course on Islam and Ethnicity. He is the author of "Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China's World City" by Hong Kong University Press.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Gordon Mathews

Customs, Copies, and Smuggling: Secrets of Low-End Globalization in China and Africa

Wednesday 11 September 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

For the past seven years I have been interacting with traders who carry copy or knock-off goods from China back to Africa. In this talk I examine how traders of these goods working in Guangzhou's Xiaobei or Sanyuanli districts or in Hong Kong's Chungking Mansions, deal in their informal circuits across the globe, including getting goods out of China and through customs in Africa. For these traders, the issue is not morality - they believe that their trade in copies and knockoffs helps people in their countries - but rather of fate. The trader can try to guard against fate by being very careful and paying off the right people. However, ultimately customs and the law, like God or Allah, follow their own mysterious paths, paths that the trader can only hope to avoid.

Gordon Mathews teaches anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Reijiro Aoyama

Dissolving Pearls: The Japanese Community in Hong Kong

Wednesday 10 July 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Previous research has drawn attention to the isolation of the Japanese community in Hong Kong. However, my research found that among Japanese nationals in Hong Kong, there is a new and pronounced interest in local culture. Since the early 2000s Japanese nationals have come to Hong Kong not only to take advantage of assumed Chinese economic growth but also to search for alternative values and a fulfilling life outside Japan. Japanese nationals have also started living outside Japanese communities and have close relationships with Hong Kong locals or other international expatriates. The findings suggest that, like Hong Kong's steady integration into China, the Japanese community in Hong Kong is also undergoing a process of dissolution, with the local Hong Kong culture increasingly infiltrating the once closely knit Japanese community within the city.

Reijiro Aoyama is a lecturer in the Division of Languages and Communication at the City University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Allen Hai Xiao

In Search of the African Dream: Chinese Small Entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Wednesday 19 June 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Many scholars discuss the Chinese presence in Africa in terms of government and big enterprises, but few have looked at individual Chinese entrepreneurs on the ground, and how they do business and live their lives. In this talk, I discuss the year I have spent working with an experienced businessman on his China-Africa business, and following Chinese small entrepreneurs from Guangzhou to Lagos, Nigeria. I explore how those businesspeople maintain their transnational networks and adapt their business strategies to Nigerian practices, including corruption, and I consider how those business activities shape informal China-Nigeria links and Chinese perceptions towards Nigerians and Africans.

Allen Hai XIAO is an M. Phil. Student in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Sandy To

Understanding Sheng Nu ('Leftover Women'): Constraints and Strategies in Chinese Professional Women's Marriage Partner Choice

Thursday 23 May 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

The increasing number of highly educated, unmarried women in China over the past few decades has given rise to the sheng nu or "leftover women" phenomenon. This study is the first that investigates the phenomenon from the sheng nus' point of view, which differs from existing superficial media accounts that portray them as liberated city singles who are not interested in marriage, or women with overly high expectations for marriage partners who are to blame for being 'leftovers' in the marriage market. Using the Grounded Theory Method, I found that the majority of Chinese women wanted to get married, but were precluded from doing so by the "patriarchal constraints" of Chinese society. In this talk, I will discuss these constraints that sheng nu face in their quest for marriage in modern Chinese society, and the "partner choice strategies" they adopt.

Sandy To is a Teaching Consultant at the Department of Sociology of the University of Hong Kong. Her PhD, from Cambridge University explored Chinese professional women's marriage views and partner choices.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Yeong Jin Seong

Military Confucianism in a Wall Street Law Firm

Thursday 18 April 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

The Korea practice group of a Wall Street law firm is managed by a mode of behavior and implicit rules that are quite different from the law firm's general policy. The group is operated based on a strict hierarchical order drawn from military experience and Confucianist tenets. What then, does it mean to be a Korean lawyer in a multinational firm? What does national identity mean in a world of global business? This talk, based on the presenter's own years of experience as a Wall Street lawyer, explores this question from a deeply personal point of view.

Mr. Yeon Jin Seong is a New York State-qualified lawyer and has been practicing law in New York and Hong Kong since receiving juris doctor from Columbia University School of Law in 2005. He studied cultural anthropology at Cornell University where he is a Ph. D. candidate. He lived in Nepal for an anthropological fieldwork, conducting a research on Hindu death rituals and social hierarchy.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Yoshiko Nakano

Flying with Madame Butterfly: Early Japan Airlines Advertising in the US and Hong Kong

Thursday 21 March 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Geisha girls typically feature in Orientalist representations of Japan. However, the West is not alone in perpetuating images of kimono-clad women. Indeed, the Japanese tourism industry has from its inception been using these stereotypical images to their own end. In 1953, the newly established Japan Airlines (JAL) was faced with the issue of how to present and represent Japan in overseas advertising. JAL initially followed the suggestions of American advertising agents, and relied heavily on images of their "air hostesses" in kimonos. However, the airline considered the American stereotype of "flying geishas" derogatory, and, in 1962, launched a new ad campaign that emphasized the cultural sophistication and academic achievements of its female flight attendants. In this talk, I will discuss how Japaneseness was negotiated across the Pacific using JAL advertisements published in the United States and Hong Kong between 1954 and 1970.

Yoshiko Nakano is an Associate Professor in the Department of Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong. She is the author of Where There Are Asians, There Are Rice Cookers: How "National" Went Global via Hong Kong (2009).


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Yan Hairong

A New Metaphor of China? Rumors about Chinese Convict Laborers in Africa

Wednesday 27 February 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

With Chinese and Chinese companies venturing into developing countries in the recent decades, there has been a global expansion in the discourse about China. There are thus new participants in the making of the discourse, connecting approaches that are vernacular and academic, as well as those of organized institutions, such as political parties and corporate media. Tracking the recent addition to the global discourse of China, this talk is about a globally circulated claim (rumor) that the Chinese government exports prison labour to other developing countries. Based on our fieldwork in a number of countries in Africa, this article examines the origins of the rumour, the mechanisms of its transmission at local, translocal and global levels, and the intersection of the agendas of its promoters. We analyse the rumour's circulation in light of the larger discourse on China and developing countries and argue that China is conceived with this rumor functioning as its new metaphor.  We will examine the politics of this rumor in the specific context of the present.

Dr. Yan Hairong is an anthropologist at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is the author of New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China (2008), and co- editor of What’s Left of Asia? (2007). Her intellectual interests include labor, gender, rurality and rural-urban relations, socialism and postsocialism, China-Africa links, agrarian changes, etc.


THE HONG KONG ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
AND THE HONG KONG MUSEUM OF HISTORY
PRESENT

An Anthropological Talk by Teresa Kuan

The Things that Horror Stories Do: Cautionary Tales and Education Reform in Urban China

Thursday 17 January 2013, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

This presentation will discuss the role of storytelling in the context of an education reform movement known as the "education for quality reform" (suzhi jiaoyu gaige). This movement is situated as a key strategy for revitalizing China in the 21st century. It aims to cultivate a generation of "quality" individuals who possess a spirit for creativity and innovation, and includes the dissemination of expert advice to parents. Stories in general, and horror stories in particular, play a major role in this movement. They circulate widely in the media, in popular advice, and in everyday conversations. This talk discusses how the telling and interpretation of stories provide a public arena for debating what being a good parent means in contemporary Chinese society.

Teresa Kuan is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

 
       
   
       

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