Folk Literati, Contested Tradition, and Heritage in Contemporary China: Incense Is Kept Burning


Product Details

Indiana University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.75 inches | 1.27 pounds

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About the Author

Ziying You is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at the College of Wooster. She is editor (with Lijun Zhang) of Chinese Folklore Studies Today: Discourse and Practice and of a special issue for the journal Asian Ethnology, titled Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia: Traditions in Transition.


By focusing on folk literati and cultural traditions in Hongtong, Ziying You engages with a cultural dialogue that spans the local and global, the East and the West, academic and folk, and the past and the present. It allows readers to obtain a deep understanding of the interplay of individual agency and social institutions in processing tradition and making heritage in China and beyond.

--Xiaohong Chen "Journal of Folklore Research"

The topic is highly sensitive to current efforts in reworking writings on historical developments in China. This review is important due to the fact that it allows many people to access details of the topic and to start a future discourse about some of the arising questions on heritage and historical values as well as about grassroot intellectuals and existing power structures.

--Corey Moore "Asian-European Music Research Journal"

This book is a deep field study of the transmission of local culture in Hongtong, Shanxi. Focusing on the worship of ancient sage kings Yao and Shun, the book extends outward, from the logic of ritual life in three villages, to the continuity and evolution of tradition within an 'ecology' of competing forces and manifestations, and the disruptions introduced by local media and the nomination of local rituals as Intangible Cultural Heritage. . . . With its high level of detail, applied with equal care to textual sources, theory, and fieldwork, You's work stands out in its field. Her sympathetic picture of China's folk literati represents a unique contribution to understanding the transmission and adaptation of local culture both past and present.

--Thomas David DuBois "The China Journal"