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The Chinese and Their Neighbors. Chinese vs. Han: How are they different?

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Presentation on theme: "The Chinese and Their Neighbors. Chinese vs. Han: How are they different?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Chinese and Their Neighbors

2 Chinese vs. Han: How are they different?

3 “Chinese” now refers to one’s citizenship. Every inhabitant of the country is “Chinese” regardless of ethnicity. Han is one of 56 recognized ethnic groups. 67million people belong to non- Han ethnic groups.

4 Ethnography in China When did it flourish? Who helped? What brought it to a halt?

5 Ethnography in China Ethnographic research began when Communists consolidated power in Soviet advisors inspired enthusiasm for ethnography, but xenophobic Chiniese politics in 1960s brought research to a halt Social history projects for minorities specialists in anthropology, history, literature, music, and art participated.

6 Ethnography in China What were its goals?

7 Ethnography in China Identify minorities Create orthographies for languages that lacked them Romanize languages written in other scripts Conduct linguistic field research Train linguists

8 Minority protections Minorities enjoy exemption from many laws (until recently, even birth control law) Minorities are officially encouraged to preserve their languages and cultures -- in designated areas, Han are required to learn minority languages Minority languages are the medium of instruction through 3rd grade and taught through middle school Publications and radio broadcasts are supported. BUT: content must be “revolutionary” -- traditional religious and cultural content is suppressed.

9 Who are the Hui?

10 Muslims, the majority of whom are linguistically and genetically Han. They are a very visible and volatile group. All other groups are distinguished on the basis of a (non-Chinese) language.

11 Problems in identifying minorities in China Linguistic factors often provide the best metric, but are not infallible Some groups get overlooked: the Tuji number over.5M, but were not “discovered” until 1956 Many minorities consider themselves Han, and have even falsified genealogical records to “prove” it Surveys turned up 4.3M Manchus, even though Manchu language is basically extinct Dept. of Minority Languages was not allowed to publish its work

12 Minorities North and South North: descendants of horse-riding nomads, the people against whom the Chinese built the Great Wall, hunters, herders, traders, languages are largely Altaic, more similar to Turkish, Japanese, Korean South aborigines who were in S. China before the Han did not mount serious resistance, were either absorbed or retreated to remote mountain areas, advanced Tai civilization dominated, and ceramics, bronze, and rice cultivation learned from them, langs are extension of SE Asia, tend to form sprachbund even if not related


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