By Erik Mueggler
In Erik Mueggler's robust and resourceful ethnography, a rural minority neighborhood within the mountains of Southwest China struggles to discover its position on the finish of a century of violence and on the margins of a countryside. right here, humans describe the current age, starting with the good bounce Famine of 1958-1960 and carrying on with during the Nineties, as "the age of untamed ghosts." Their tales of this age converge on a dream of community--a undesirable dream, embodied within the lifestyles, loss of life, and reawakening of a unmarried establishment: a rotating headman-ship approach that expired violently less than the Maoist regime. exhibiting a delicate realizing of either chinese language and the Tibeto-Burman language spoken during this sector, Mueggler explores stories of this establishment, together with the rituals and poetics that when surrounded it and the sour conflicts that now hang-out it.To exorcise "wild ghosts," he exhibits, is not anything under to visualize the kingdom and its energy, to track the accountability for violence to its morally ambiguous origins, and to enunciate demands justice and articulate longings for reconciliation.
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Extra resources for The Age of Wild Ghosts, Memory, Violence, and Place in Southwest China
Studies of people now identiﬁed as “minority nationalities,” it is assumed, can make little contribution to this enterprise. These peoples are either culturally distinct and thus not “Chinese,” or they are in the process of being “sinicized” and thus neither reliable representatives of Chinese culture nor very interesting on their own. In this context, the ethnogra- INTRODUCTION 19 phy of “minority” peoples in China has taken two predominant forms. In the West, most of such work is about ethnicity.
Sealing with ash made a house a self- AN INTIMATE IMMENSITY 31 contained receptacle, within which relations were isolated from external inﬂuences in order to e∂ect internal transformations. Li Qunhua sat gingerly on the edge of the bed she shared with her husband until the ritualist laughed at her, pulled a goatskin cape to the bed’s head, and pushed her against it. “Lie down,” she said. ” After making sure Li Qunhua would lie still, the ritualist stepped out to the porch and drew materials from her back basket to build a sculptural representation of the mæ.
Still, more than eighty women were frightened into undergoing tubal ligation before collective outrage forced a halt to the campaign. Li Qunhua barely escaped sterilization. Her husband paid a relative in the brigade government to alter his household registration, changing her age from thirty-nine to forty-nine and thus exempting her from the sterilization requirement. All of this had a presence in the couple’s worried response to Li Qunhua’s dreams. Her husband pointed out that the dreams could be read conventionally as omens of injured reproductive capacity, indicating the AN INTIMATE IMMENSITY 25 future loss of a child.