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Research Grants/Awards

Title of Project:
The historical anthropology of Chinese society

Principal Investigator:
Professor David FAURE, Department of History, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Funding Source:
The fund of Areas of Excellence 2009

Abstract of Research:
        This project studies how local societies through history were integrated into the Chinese state. Drawing on historical documents and field research, this project will study 8 geographic areas in China to recover the history of both how local society acquired and identified with its own characteristics, and incorporated into, and accepted, the broad expanse of a unified culture. For its method, it will document objectively observable indications of local ritual traditions (referred to in this project as "significant ritual markers") and reconstruct the history of the local institutions in which they were employed. These indications include architectural features and literate traditions closely related to local religion or ancestral sacrifice, the hagiography of local deities, and village ceremonies performed by villagers themselves or by Buddhist and Daoist specialists. By comparing the time frame of separate local histories, this project will construct a history of China from the bottom up. It will demonstrate the very significance of historical anthropology as an approach to understanding China's history.

        The project includes Chunsheng Chen (SYSU), Siu-woo Cheung (HKUST), Sui-wai Cheung (CUHK), Chi-cheung Choi (CUHK), David Faure (CUHK), John Lagerwey (CUHK), Yuen-sang Leung (CUHK), Tik-sang Liu (HKUST), Zhiwei Liu (SYSU), Wing-kin Puk (CUHK), Helen F. Siu (YU), Billy Kee-long So (CUHK), Wai-lun Tam (CUHK) and Shiyu Zhao (BNU). (SYSU stands for Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou; BNU for Beijing Normal University and YU for Yale University.)