East Asia Section : The Politics of Appearance in East Asia

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<ul><li><p>Anthropology News December 2003 S E C T I O N N E W S </p><p>(Danforth Plant Science Center), Olga Lazcano (U Las Americas, Puebla), Gustavo Banientos (U Las Americas, Puebla), Jennifer Williams (U Minne- sota), Anna Marie Nicolaysen (Hispanic Health Council), Barbara Dilly (Creighton U), Kiran Cunningham (Kalamazoo C), Vernita Ediger (Stanford U) and Donna Sampson (Iowa State U). </p><p>Mark Mortiz (UCLA), Brandon Lundy (SUNY Buffalo), and Margaret Rodman presented posters on Changing Agricultural Ideologies and Insti- tutions Under Development. </p><p>This column welcomes news of interdisciplinary and collaborative research on topics related to culture and agriculture. Send contributions to Barbara Dillx Admin 425b, Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Creighton U, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68132 or email: bjdillp?.tmghton.edu. The &amp;adline for the February 2004 newsletter is December 15. </p><p>ERIBERTO P LOZADA JR, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR </p><p>The Politics of Appearance in East Asia By Bonnie Adrian (v Denver) Lavish, large, and loud photographs of brides and grooms have captured the attention of anthro- pologists working in East Asia. Sidney Cheung of the Chinese University of Hong Kong organized a session entitled Contextualizing Wedding Photos in East Asia for the XVth World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, which took place in Florence this past summer. The session brought together new work on photography and wed- d m g s in Hong Kong, Beijing, south China, Seoul, and Taipei, including papers by, respectively, Sidney Cheung (Chinese U of Hong Kong), Nicole Constable (U Pittsburgh), Eriberto P Lozada Jr (Davidson C) and Eric Ma (Chinese U of Hong Kong), Laurel Kendall (American Museum of Natural History) and Giuseppina De Nicola (Seoul National U), and myself. The papers vari- ously discussed changing photographic and fash- ion practices over time, photographic rituals, cul- tural framings of weddings, processes of global- ization and localization, and gender dynamics. Look for published papers by session participants in a future volume of Visual Anthropology Review. </p><p>My ethnography of bridal photography studios in contemporary Taipei will be published t h i s fall as Framing the Bride: Globalizing Beauty and Ro- mance in Taiwans Bridal I&amp;by by the University of California press. I found Taiwanese bridal pho- tographs good to think, for my pursuit of ques- tions raised by the larger-than-life portraits led me beyond the Las Vegas-esque architecture of the bridal district. Why must the photographs be so large? Why are parents and other family mem- bers excluded from the photos and what are their perspectives on t h i s relatively new cultural prac- tice? Why do brides consume vimally unrecog- nizable images of themselves with taped up eye- lids, rounded eyes, lightened skin, and erased identifymg features? And, how did the white </p><p>Bridal photograph from Taiwan. Photograph by Bonnie Adrian. </p><p>Victorian-inspired bridal gown come to be hege- monic in Taiwan? The photographs raise matters of kinship and generational conflict, courtship practices and spouse selection, change (and lack thereof) in betrothal and wedding rites, Taiwans history and visual culture, consumer capitalism, and the role of Woman in transnational mass- </p><p>- media images. I analyze the photographs and the 12-hour long process of being posed for them as telling artifacts of late 2oCentury life in a media- saturated Asian global city, a node in the vast network of regional and global cultural flows. </p><p>The East Asian Studies Invited Session for this years AAA Annual Meeting, The Politics of A p pearance in East Asia, also included two presen- tations on bridal photography (Nicole Constables work in Beijing and mine in Taipei). The session revolved around an issue central in contempo- rary urban weddings and so much of everyday life in East Asia, the impact of transnational flows on techniques of the body. I organized this ses- sion with Susan Brownell (U Missouri-St Louis) to further our understandings of social life in the region while highlighting the unique contribu- tion that ethnographically-based studies can make to the multidisciplinary scholarship on the body and globalization. The session also included participants Linda Angst (Lewis and Clark C), Laud Kendall (AMNH), Xin Liu (UC Berkeley), Wm Lunsing (IndependenVLeiden U), Brian McVeigh (U Arizona), Laura Miller (Loyola U), Erik Mueggler (U Michigan), Louisa Schein (Rutgers U), Laura Spielvogel (western Michigan), Kenji Tierney (Harvard), and Tiantian Zheng ( S U N Y Cortland). The papers cover a wide range of field contexts in Japan, Taiwan, and China including fitness clubs, cosmetic surgery clinics, beauty salons, hostess clubs, sumo wrestling </p><p>rings, gay urban spaces, and rural villages fre- quented by tourists. Publication of this collection of papers will be announced on the MIANTH listserv. </p><p>E-ASIA(S) in Cyberspace Now there is one comprehensive site to subscribe .to the MIANTH listserv and to find resources and information about the different events and organizations in East Asian anthropology: www. aaanet .org/easias. </p><p>Please send contributions to this column to Eriberto Lozada, Anthropology Dept, Davidson C, Davidson, NC 28035; erlozada@davidson.edu. - Middle East Section GREGORY STARRETT, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR MES notes the loss of Edward Said (Nov 1, 1935- Sept 25, 2003), whose contributions to scholar- ship and political debate helped transform Middle East studies specifically, and area studies more generally, into controversial and reflexive fields. As one of the countrys premier public intellectuals he revealed much about the cultures of scholarship as well as the consequences, both productive and doubtful, of scholars engaging,in the public arena. </p><p>Research in Tajikistan </p><p>By Mary Elaine Hegland (Santa Clara U) Among the nations newly independent from the Soviet Union, anthropologists have paid less attention to Tajikistan. For decades Soviet borders cut Tajiks off from their fellow Persian speakers in Iran and Afghanistan. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and de fact0 independence for Central Asian states, national borders now also separate Tajiks from Tajik speakers and former centers of Persian culture in Samarkand, Tashkent, and Bukhara in Uzbekistan as well. </p><p>Tajikistans 20th century transformations make it a provocative field location for economic and development anthropology, as well as research on the family and on Islam. Tajikistan was a main source of cotton for the Soviet Union. In ex- change, the USSR provided Tajiks with many sub- sidies and benefits. Now all of that has been lost for the countrys six million inhabitants. Muca- tional, health, infrastructure, and welfare support previously provided by the USSR have disap- peared. Further, the world economy has deterio- rated and the price of cotton dropped for Tajiks just emerging from civil war. </p><p>Now, because of massive unemployment, some one in six Tajiks travello Russia to look for work. This high level of labor migration, devel- oped only in the last few years, has affected fam- ily dynamics. Younger men are gone for some months during the year. Marriage rates are declin- ing. Women are left with even more family, agri- cultural, animal care, and cash earning responsi- bilities. Womens strong presence in bazaars, in contrast to Iran and Afghanistan, would intrigue economic anthropologists. The USSRs collapse deprived Tajikistan of a large source of revenue. </p><p>44 </p></li></ul>