Fortress Village - The Ethnic Minorities of Southwest China  
Project Team Members

Gao Ya-Ning

Gao Ya-NingMy research topic is the religious ceremonies of the Zhuang people, focusing particularly on female ritual specialists. My master’s thesis dealt with the processes used by Zhuang female ritual specialists in their ritualistic performances. I analyzed the scripts of the ceremonies and discussed the performances, which displayed kinship relations in a Zhuang society. Currently, I am interested in studying how the Zhuang people, as members of a marginalized ethnic group, perceive the Central Kingdom. Most of the Central Kingdom’s references to the marginalized regions were written records; China’s ethnic minority groups usually pass on their historical memories orally. My research will allow me to find out how female ritual specialists understood the Central Kingdom through oral history. Topics that I will discuss include religion, gender, and empire.

I treat this Digital Archives Program as field study. By this I mean that I am getting to know the background of ethnological research in the early twentieth century, retracing the tracks of the researchers, and imagining the outline of the studies of that period through existing publications and archived specimens. Our predecessors collected a wealth of data, and left us with many useful resources as well as more paths to follow in research.
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