Professor: Susan Greenhalgh
The rapid rise of China on the global stage is one of the most important developments of our time. Under the slogan “reform and opening up,” an ambitious party-state has sought to remake the economy and society so as to propel the nation to global prominence and power. For anthropologists, these developments pose critical questions of governance and power. With China’s entry into global economic, social, and scientific circuits, who is governing China’s society, through what logics and techniques, and with what effects for individuals, communities, spatial arrangements, and relations of power? What has happened to the state in an age of market ascendance? How are China’s people responding to transformations in state and market dynamics in their efforts to create lives worth living? Drawing on ethnographic texts and some independent documentary films, this course traces shifts in society and selfhood across a wide range of domains of living. In the process it introduces students to some of the major debates in the anthropology of China while underscoring the vital role of ethnography in understanding a world in constant flux.