Keping WU, Associate Professor of Anthropology is scheduled to give a seminar in May (see below). Please email if you want to get the Zoom link.

Presentation date& time: May 14 (Friday) 9:30-10:30 am Beijing Time via Zoom
• 30mins presentation
• 30mins Q&A

Northwest Yunnan is nested in the border areas of Tibet, Myanmar and Southwest China. The religiously and ethnically diverse region has been astonishingly lack of “conflict,” as what is often assumed in regions of ethnic and religious differences. This paper argues that there is an organic form of pluralism through frequent inter-ethnic and inter-religious marriages, multi-lingual daily interactions and strategic ethnicity registrations. Ethnic and religious boundaries are made permanently or temporarily permeable through celebration of boundary-crossing rituals such as weddings and funerals and other shared experience such as collective labor and migrant work. Furthermore, analysis of its ideas of the spirits reveal that this region has a strong tradition that associates “the other” with power and creativity, instead of inferiority or the need to be subdued. This sacred and secular understanding of power thus enables the people to use kinship, rituals and other shared experiences to foster group-formation that is fluid, porous and malleable, instilling empathy and obligation as the basis of this pluralistic borderland society.

To be updated