Fakultäten » Philosophische Fakultät » Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, Institut für » Völkerkundemuseum » Prof. Dr. Mareile Flitsch » Wu

Completed research project

Title / Titel Academic continuity under socialist paradigms – About the ethnographic research project “Social Historical Survey of Ethnic Minorities” (1956-1964) in China
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung In 1950s the new government of the Chinese Communist Party initiated a series of surveys about the ethnic groups, such as projects of identifying ethnic groups (1953-1954), survey of ethnic languages (since 1955) etc. Among them the project “Social Historical Survey of Ethnic Minorities” from 1956 to 1964 remains a highlight in the history of ethnological research in China.

Some of its raw survey materials, altogether 340 volumes were printed for internal uses in 1950s and 1960s. In 1980s the very most of these materials have been published officially and they give a starting impulse for the ethnology of China in a new era. In the Western ethnological community these materials are also well-known. In 2009, all these materials have been reprinted in Beijing with some editorial improvements.

This research looks back to the historical issues with the focus of establishing ethnography than a historiography of this project, namely to find out the academic continuity of ethnology under the new paradigms of ethnicity theory influenced by the Soviet Union, institutional as well as political upheavals. Through comparative deep-reading of materials of the respective versions of 1950s, 1980s and 2009, this research raises also the question how scholarship of contemporary China copes with its historical legacy.
Publications / Publikationen Sozialhistorische Studien über die Minderheitenvölker Chinas (1956-1964) (mit einer ausführlichen Einleitung). Berlin: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Neuerwerbungen der Ostasienabteilung, Sonderheft 8), 2005.
Keywords / Suchbegriffe ethnology of China, Social Historical Survey of Ethnic Minorities
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Xiujie Wu (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
Universität Zürich (position pursuing an academic career)
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Professor Dr. Shengmin Yang
School of Ethnology and Sociology
Central University for Nationalities
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Dec 2009 to Sep 2010