We are seeking additional participants for a session at the AAS 2020 in Boston, “Childhood in China’s Borderlands.” Below is the draft panel abstract. Potential participants should send an abstract of 250 words by July 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Childhood in China’s Borderlands
Since the 20th century, China’s large-scale and ongoing political and economic changes have shifted the subjectivities of its citizens (Yan 2009). In particular, globalization and economic liberalization have intersected with traditional beliefs about childhood, leading to wider public recognition of the significance of childhood as a time of social, psychological, and moral development (Kuan 2015, Naftali 2010, Xu 2017). Less examined, however, are the lives of minority (C. 少数民族) children in ethnically and linguistically diverse communities from China’s borderlands. In these communities, the rapid growth of consumer capitalism, assimilation, and the decrease in ethnolinguistic diversity challenge traditional childrearing practices. Local communities have responded by adapting their beliefs about children and childhood, profoundly shaping children’s developmental processes. As a result, children’s acquisition of language, cultural practices, and social relationships both reflect and respond to larger scale social changes that often involve constraints on traditional expressions of ethnolinguistic belonging.
This panel brings together scholars working across the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, education, and history in order to critically investigate minority childhoods amidst rapid social change in China’s borderlands. Our panelists take a multi-dimensional approach to analyzing children’s everyday lives, situating our studies in families, schools, and children’s peer groups. Through case studies of Tibetan, Uyghur, Monguor (Tuzu), and other children, we emphasize the diversity in ways of growing up in China. In so doing, our panel also aims to highlight the role of young children as active agents of cultural change.
Kuan, Teresa. 2015. Love’s Uncertainty: The Politics and Ethics of Childrearing in Contemporary China. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Naftali, Orna. 2010. Recovering Childhood: Play, Pedagogy, and the Rise of Psychological Knowledge in Contemporary Urban China. Modern China 36(6): 589-616.
Xu, Jing. 2017. The Good Child: Moral Development in a Chinese Preschool. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Yan, Yunxiang. 2009. The Individualization of Chinese Society. New York: Berg.