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  • Chengyi ZHOU

Book Launch 新書發佈: Ethnic Chrysalis, by Dr Kim 金由美博士專著《族群之蛹》

10 April 2019 (Wed) 4:30-6:00

Room 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Going Backward and Forward at the Same Time: Ethnic Chrysalis and Making History Useful for Contemporary Ethnic Communities in Northeast China

Loretta Kim reflected on what she learned about crossing boundaries between academic disciplines and linking her interest in the past to contemporary issues related to ethnic and regional identities in Northeast China. She explained how the process of tracing the impact of imperial administration on the Orochen people, who have and still maintain economic and social relations with relatives across the Sino-Russian border, led to her current projects on the classification of foodways and the data curation of non-Han names. Both of these studies explore how historical knowledge can inform everyday expressions of cultural identity and heritage preservation.

Ethnic Chrysalis: China’s Orochen People and the Legacy of Qing Borderland is the first book in English to cover the early modern history of the Orochen, an ethnic group that has for centuries inhabited areas now belonging to the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. The Qing dynasty (1644–1911) was a formative period for Orochen identity, and its actions preserved the Orochen as a separate ethnic group. While incorporating the Orochen into the imperial political domain through military conscription and compulsory resource extraction, the Qing government created two Orochen subgroups that experienced disparate levels of social and economic autonomy. The use of “Orochen” as an official modifier by Qing officials forms an early layer of the chrysalis that embodies various senses of ethnic identity for people who have been identified, or self‐identified, as Orochen. Since the Qing, the Orochen have continued to cherish the perception that their Qing‐period ancestors were key players in the defense and economy of northeast China. Tracing the evolution of Qing policies toward the Orochen along the Chinese–Russian borderland, Loretta Kim examines how the impact of political organization in one era can endure in a group’s social and cultural values.

SMLC Newsletter 2018-19
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