Fieldwork

James Miller's picture

In June this year Ian Johnson published a major report in the New York Times on China’s plans to urbanize 250 million citizens over the next decade or so. This drive continues the decades-long story of China’s conversion from an 80 per cent rural society into an 80 per cent urban society, a migration that…

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A conservation biologist by training, I first arrived in Xishuangbanna because of my interest in the ecological value of sacred groves called “holy hills,” fragments of old-growth rainforest that remain protected by indigenous Dai people despite rapid deforestation due to the proliferation of rubber plantations. The Dai protect holy hills because they believe their gods…

contested sacred space on maoshan

Submitted by James Miller on Sat, 01/07/2012 - 13:19
James Miller's picture

In May 2010 I had the opportunity to visit Maoshan, an important Daoist site in Jiangsu province (see here for my earlier post). One result of my fieldwork was that it gave a deeper insight as to the way Daoism and nature are represented together in contemporary Chinese culture. The evidence suggests that just as…

mazu: marine ecoregion goddess

Submitted by James Miller on Thu, 12/15/2011 - 02:16
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According to tradition, Mazu (Matsu) was a girl who lived in the late tenth century who was renowned for her assistance to seafarers. She was posthumously deified and attracted a wide cult throughout the southern China coastal area in the Ming dynasty. Over the past few centuries she has become one of the most popular…

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The question of how to promote a culture of ecological sustainability in China took me this summer to conduct exploratory fieldwork among the Blang minority nationality, in Yunnan province, close to the border between China and Myanmar. The Blang are…

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