The Spurious Kang: An Ethnographic Account of Culture’s Place in a Chinese Village – A Talk by Dr Kang Sun

Recognizing numerous elements of culture in the field can pose challenges to researchers. The concrete, unexpected, practical, and sometimes tedious issues that need to be addressed add rich and dynamic meanings as well as messiness to projects. Frequently, such recognition results from constant negotiations with history and present, first impressions and in-depth knowledge acquired through trial and error. In this presentation, Dr Kang showcases the uncertainties and negotiations of recognition experienced in a village that is both familiar and strange to him, his hometown. As an ethnographer, he argues that recognition of cultural elements is a social process that often defies simple academic categories. Only by accepting such social processes that take place in the real field, can real inquiries of interests be identified and investigated. In his case, field research has been an ongoing process in which he and other participants have discovered the importance of an old local art form and worked together to push for its revival. This presentation is marked by its visual impact.

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