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AFS Review: Reports

Report on AFS's Third China-US Intangible Cultural Heritage Conference

Tuesday, December 11, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tim Lloyd

On November 17-18, 2012, the AFS, Vanderbilt University, and the National Research Center of Cultural Industries of Central China Normal University sponsored the third in a series of four China-US intangible cultural heritage conferences, on the topic of "Productive Safeguarding.”

The conference—which took place at the Yifu International Conference Center on the CCNU campus in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province—was supported by funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and four CCNU units: the School of Chinese Language and Literature, the Scientific Research Office, the Graduate School, and the International Office.

Professor Huang Yonglin—Vice President of CCNU, Vice President of the China Folklore Society, and Director of the National Research Center of Cultural Industries—was the conference host. Some 60 people, primarily folklore studies scholars and students, participated in and attended the event.



All participants and attendees at the conference.


The conference opened with presentations by CCNU President Ma Min, AFS Executive Director Tim Lloyd, Bill Ivey of Vanderbilt University, Song Junhua of Sun Yat-Sen University, President Fu Guangdian of the Hubei Society for Folk Literature and Art Study, and Vice Director Li Yaohua of the Hubei Provincial Department of Culture.



L-R: Judith Sacks (Kenyon College), Liu Shouhua (Central China Normal University), Amy Kitchener (Alliance for California Traditional Arts), Betsy Peterson (American Folklife Center, Library of Congress), Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University Museum), Wang Xiaobing (Sun Yat-Sen University), Howard Sacks (Kenyon College), Xiao Fang (Beijing Normal University). Photo by Tim Lloyd.



L-R: Song Junhua (Sun Yat-Sen University), Jiang Mingzhi (Sun Yat-Sen University), and Xiao Fang (Beijing Normal University). Photo by Tim Lloyd.


Over the following two days, four Chinese folklore studies scholars and four from the US made presentations, each of which was followed by prepared comments from a discussant and lively, engaged general discussion. The speakers, their affiliations and topics, and the discussants were:

Amy Kitchener (Alliance for California Traditional Arts): Recognizing the Practice of Tradition in Community Well-Being: A Model of Sustainable Intangible Cultural Heritage (discussant: Lin Jifu, Central University of Nationalities)

Liu Shouhua (CCNU): The Charm of a Wild Flower: A Brief Survey of "Saye’erhe” (discussant: Judith Sacks, Kenyon College)

Liu Xiaochun (Sun Yat-Sen University): How Are the Inheritors To Choose?: Examining Reproductive Protection From an Emic Perspective (discussant: Xie Mohua, Yunnan Nationalities Museum)

Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University): The "American” Quilt: Intersections and Challenges of Preservation and Safeguards To a Traditional Cultural Heritage Form (discussant: Diao Tongju, Shandong University)

Betsy Peterson (American Folklife Center): Creating Cultural Capacity Through the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Two Case Studies From the American Folklife Center (discussant: An Deming, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

Howard Sacks (Kenyon College): Engaging Modernity (discussant: Song Junhua, Sun Yat-Sen University)

Xiao Fang (Beijing Normal University): Some Thoughts On the Productive Safeguarding of ICH (discussant: Kurt Dewhurst, Michigan State University)

Zhang Shishan (Shandong University): Who Produces and How To Safeguard?: On "Safeguarding by Producing” for Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage (discussant: Bill Ivey, Vanderbilt University)


Outdoor dinner on Jiqing Street in Wuhan: L-R: Xie Mohua (Yunnan Nationalities Museum), Tim Lloyd (AFS), Song Junhua (Sun Yat-Sen University), Bill Ivey (Vanderbilt University), Chen Xi (Sun Yat-Sen University. Photo by Liu Rong.


But all was not work at the gathering, the organizers having planned several social events for those present: a boat tour on the Yangtze River; visits to the East Lake, the Hubei Provincial Museum, and the Yellow Crane Tower; and local cuisine at all meals, including an alfresco dinner on Wuhan’s Jiqing Street, shown in the image just above. For attendees who were able to schedule it, a post-conference tour visited Taoist and martial arts sites on Mount Wudang.

A PDF of the conference program book, including abstracts for all presentations, is available via a link from here.

The fourth and final conference in the series is set for Washington, DC, on May 22-24, 2013. For more information on these conferences, or on the larger China-US Forum on Intangible Cultural Heritage of which they are a part, please contact Executive Director Tim Lloyd of AFS.

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