Archive 2015
     
             
     

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

An Anthropological Talk by Hervé Munz

Swissness Made Abroad?: A Study of Knowledge Transfer in After-Sales Service of Swiss Watches in Hong Kong

Thursday 3 December 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Ninety-five percent of the time pieces produced today in Switzerland are intended for export. During the last fifteen years, Greater China, mainly because of Hong Kong market's growth, has become the first importation market for Swiss watches (especially high-end mechanical ones). The fulgurating increase of their sales in Hong Kong has proportionally expanded the number of requests for their maintenance. In less than a decade, this phenomenon has led numerous Swiss, Hong-Kong and Chinese organizations involved in the business to commit new knowledge management policies for providing on-the-spot technical servicing according to "Swiss Standards" and to train local workers for it. Various forms of know-how transfer from Switzerland to Hong Kong have been and are still implemented in order to secure a skilled workforce and to maintain the "aura" of Swiss time pieces in Southeast Asia. On the basis of an ongoing ethnographic research in different workshops, stores and offices in Hong Kong, this talk aims to expose what an anthropologist may say about Swiss watchmaking's worldwide circulation and to address some of the issues raised by some current fieldwork in the globalized and ambiguous world of the so-called prestigious watches "made in Switzerland".

Hervé Munz is postdoctoral fellow and visiting Scholar at the Hong Kong Institute of Humanities and the Social Sciences (Hong Kong University). He has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Isaac Gagné

Caring for the Heart: Grassroots Psychosocial Therapy in Post-3.11 Japan

Thursday 12 November 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Four-and-a-half years since the 2011 disaster in Japan, over 190,000 people remain displaced, and many still struggle with physical, social, and psychological trauma. In response to post-disaster challenges, a combination of secular and religious volunteer movements have emerged, addressing distinct yet overlapping dimensions of caring and community-building for survivors through what they call "care for the heart." In this presentation I discuss my ongoing fieldwork on these different forms of "grassroots psychosocial therapy" operating in-between psychiatric, religious, and social spheres. I talk about how as a movement of non-governmental, non-medical "average citizens" who volunteer to listen to and console other "average citizens" suffering from the disaster, these groups have become a grassroots force for social support, community-building, and reflexive psychotherapy, both for survivors and for the volunteers themselves.

Isaac Gagné is a Postdoctoral Fellow at CUHK's Department of Japanese Studies working on religion, morality, gender and identity in Japan.


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

An Anthropological Talk by David Palmer

Urban Volunteers in Rural China: Imagining the Nation, Encountering the Other, Transforming the Self

Thursday 29 October 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

In the past decade, a growing number of urban Chinese, primarily university students and graduates, have gone to rural and ethnic minority regions of Western China to act as volunteer teachers in schools, for periods ranging from a few days to a few years. Based on interviews, field research and media narratives of volunteers, this talk will propose an anthropological analysis of this form of volunteering as an Othering encounter in which cosmopolitan and rustic, urban and rural, Han and ethnic minority identities are highlighted and negotiated. This Othering encounter is a process that involves multiple stages, beginning before the volunteers' departure, unfolding during the period of service in the remote locale, and continuing after the return to urban life. Through this process, concerns with effecting lasting educational change are eclipsed by the frustrations and joys of engaging with local people and their realities. Volunteering becomes an experience of self-reflection and individual transformation; at the same time, it becomes a ritual of solidarity that enacts the unity of the Nation, dramatizing and reconciling the divisions between its people.

Dr. David A. Palmer is an Associate Professor and head of the department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong, which he joined in 2008. After completing his PhD in the Anthropology of Religion at the Institute for Advanced Research in Paris, he was the Eileen Barker Fellow in Religion and Contemporary Society at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and, from 2004 to 2008, director of the Hong Kong Centre of the French School of Asian Studies (Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient), at the Institute for Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Ling Minhua

What's New about Neo-Shanghainese? Rights and Belonging to a Resurgent Global City

Thursday 17 September 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Cheap migrant laborers, mostly from rural to urban, have been indispensable to the growth of "global cities."  Nevertheless, the fear of "outsiders" eating up limited public resources and the cities getting "out of control" is undeniable.  This talk takes late-socialist Shanghai as a case study to examine the dilemma through the experiences of second-generation migrant youth who grew up in their parents' adopted city but are still denied basic city rights under the socialist household registration (hukou) system.  It discusses the discourse of "neo-Shanghainese" since the mid-2000s and delineates the governing techniques of Shanghai's highly stratified urban citizenship that bars a majority of lower-status migrants from becoming legally and socioculturally "Shanghainese." It also draws comparative notes from the case of "new immigrants" in Hong Kong to highlight the complexity of belonging under the forces of both global capitalism and socialist logic of order and development.

Ling Minhua is assistant professor at the Centre for Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and has a PhD in Anthropology from Yale University.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Kwong Miu Ying

Is Death the End? Senses of Life After Death in Guangdong and Hong Kong

Thursday 2 July 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Death poses an ultimate threat to our lives and our sense of security in this world. Life after death has always been a point of concern among people in different parts of the world and various religions and local beliefs offer diverse depictions of what an afterlife is like. This talk explores how individuals in Guangdong and Hong Kong envision what will happen to them after they die. Guangdong, like many other parts of China went through the socialist era when religions and supernatural beliefs and practices were banned. While the atheist education in that period has produced numbers of non-believers in the afterlife and even atheists, many seem to be increasingly interested in this issue since the reform era. Graveyard and related businesses are now heavily invested in. Offerings for the deceased have grown in variety to include the most up-to-date models of cell phones. What do these trends tell us about changes in senses of afterlife among Chinese in recent decades? Compared to Guangdong, people in Hong Kong have enjoyed relative religious freedom, although the government favored Christianity among other religions under the colonial rule. Its historical trajectory gives rise to a different scene in terms of senses of life after death. Based on months of in-depth interviews, this talk addresses individuals' deepest fears and how they tackle them with or without an imagination of an afterlife.

Kwong Miu Ying is an Mphil student, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Ho Cheuk-Yuet

Urban Housing Demolition and Rights Defense in Chongqing

Thursday 11 June 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

In the past two decades, housing demolitions (拆迁) and property investments (买房) have become ubiquitous phenomena and an everyday topic of discussion for ordinary people in China. In this talk, I shall describe certain Chongqing urban dwellers' defiance of evictions and defense of their property rights. Drawing on my ethnographic studies between 2011-2013, which coincided with Secretary Bo Xilai's (薄熙来) peak of power and subsequent dismissal, I shall present several cases that depict how property investors (买房人) and nail householders (钉子户) contest real estate developers and demolition personnel for their alleged wrongdoings.

In this talk, I shall highlight how the notion of property rights is invoked and employed strategically by the various parties, animated variously by contrasting claims of need, desire, and self-interest. I suggest that private property rights are at once enabling and disabling when understood in the light of both the rigorous pursuit of well-being in a market economy and the contestation by those who resist forced eviction or the infringement of owners' rights.

Ho Cheuk-Yuet (PhD, U of Cambridge, 2014) is Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include property rights, human rights, anthropology of finance, and anthropology of truth and apology.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Rao Yichen

Coming of Age with "Internet Addiction": Institutional Encounters and Subject Formation of Chinese Youngsters

Thursday 28 May 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

"Internet addiction" has been treated as a mental disorder in China since 2005. The past ten years have witnessed the rise and fall of a national campaign to "rescue" the 24 million "Internet addicts" in China. Some of them sat in an internet café for days or weeks without eating or drinking. Some committed suicide as a result of one quarrel after another with their parents. Some killed their parents as they "lost their sense" in the world on-line. Treatment camps for internet addiction were established across China under the mission of saving Chinese youths and their families. However, the media coverage of these institutions "disclosed" their "dark" and disruptive sides. Young people sent to these centers were said to have gone through a series of physical tortures - some were even trained to death. Based on three months' ethnographic fieldwork in a treatment camp based on different therapeutics, this talk gives an inquiry into the discipline and resistance, the institutional encounters and the subject formations of the youngsters who underwent the treatment of "internet addiction".

RAO Yichen is an Mphil student, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Sharon Wong Wai-yee

The Awareness of Technological Choices: Chinese Elements Adopted by Khmer Ceramic Craftsmen in Angkor, Cambodia

Thursday 23 April 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Khmer ceramics unearthed in Angkor can be traced as cultural roots to provoke local awareness of local identities and traditions. However, Chinese influence is usually portrayed as a straightforward case of one-way cultural diffusion, especially how Chinese ceramic craftsmanship influenced the Khmers during the ninth to fourteenth centuries. In this talk, a concept of technological choices on the study of Chinese elements adopted by Khmer ceramic craftsmen in Angkor will shed light on our imagery of cross-cultural exchange in the past.

Sharon Wong Wai-yee is Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include historical archaeology, and China-Southeast Asian cultural interaction in pre-modern period. She was trained in archaeology and gained her PhD at the National University of Singapore and M.A. from the School of Archaeology and Museology in Peking University.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Alan Smart

Gifts to a Former Mentor: Hong Kong's contribution to the rise of China and the consequences of that rise for the current relationship

Wednesday 4 March 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong made a crucial contribution to China's rise, but in the last fifteen years the balance of influence has shifted. China's rise has changed the relationship between China and Hong Kong since 1997. Rather than Hong Kong offering important mentorship, increasingly its economy is dependent on Beijing's goodwill, a wealthy supplicant whose economic importance is hostage to political considerations that make preserving the SAR's economic vitality desirable to China's leadership. A series of "gifts" from Beijing to Hong Kong have made the SAR increasingly dependent on Beijing's goodwill.

Alan Smart (PhD, U of Toronto, 1986) is Professor, Department of Anthropology, U of Calgary. Research in Hong Kong, China and Canada, on housing, cities, borders, agriculture and transnationalism. Author of "The Shek Kip Mei Myth: Squatters, fires and colonial rule in Hong Kong, 1950-1963" (Hong Kong U Press, 2006), and numerous articles.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Gabriele De Seta

Dajiangyou: Vernacular media practices in postdigital China

Wednesday 4 February 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Along many claims about the Internet in China (it is thoroughly surveilled, it will bring democracy, it corrupts youth), the one I find most interesting is the assumption about the existence of a Chinese Internet culture. As a media anthropologist I feel compelled to ask questions: If it's a culture, who belongs to it? Who creates it and sustains it? How is it 'Chinese'? Drawing on anthropological fieldwork following the everyday use of digital media in China, I will argue that the concept of digital folklore is a more appropriate metaphor for the repertoire of content generated by the users' practices of vernacular creativity.

Gabriele DE SETA is a PhD candidate at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Department of Applied Social Sciences. He is currently writing up his doctoral dissertation, an ethnographic account of vernacular creativity and digital media practices in contemporary China.


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

An Anthropological Talk by Jun Zhang

Driving for the Family: Ethical Negotiation in the Making of the Middle Class in Urban China

Wednesday 14 January 2015, 7:00pm
Hong Kong Museum of History
Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

This talk explores the centrality of family in the making of urban middle class through their experience with auto-mobility in contemporary China. "Middle class" is often taken for granted as a reference to individuals' class or social status in a similar manner in which cars are generally considered an icon of individual autonomy and freedom. This talk illustrates the ways in which the car and auto-mobility enable the middle class to imagine, redefine and practice proper domestic life. I argue that proper conduct of the self in relation to family is important for them to imagine their membership in the middle-class community. Meanwhile, their conduct coincides with the state's agenda that seeks to recreate itself by promoting the so-called traditional family values. Just as cars echo political ideology of liberal individualism in many western contexts, cars provide a material medium to articulate and practice family ethics and value that contribute to the legitimization of the state in contemporary China.

Jun Zhang teaches at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

 
       
   
       

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