Seminar 2 March:  Tamara Jacka ‘The Ghosts of Twin Maidens Shrine: Reflections on Ethnography, History and Story-telling’

Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs

Seminar Series

Date/time: 2 March 2021, 12.30–2.00pm

Via Zoom [link available on request]

Title: The Ghosts of Twin Maidens Shrine: Reflections on Ethnography, History and Story-telling

Abstract: This is not your usual academic seminar. Instead, I want to tell you a couple of stories. The stories draw on ethnographic and life-history research that colleagues and I conducted in a rural Chinese village between 2015 and 2019. I will briefly introduce this research before recounting the two stories, which were told to us by an elderly man, living in the hamlet of . The first story is about the death of the twin ‘maidens’ from whom the temple gets its name, and the second is about the death of the elderly man’s own baby daughter. I use a self-reflexive, storytelling mode both to retell these stories and to ask questions about them. My questions are in part about death and suffering in modern rural China. And in part, they are about ethnography, history, story-telling, and the possibilities, challenges and limits of cross-cultural understanding and communication.

About the speaker: Tamara Jacka is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Political and Social Change. Over the last thirty years, her research has related to social and political change, gender relations, rural society, rural-urban migration, and gender and rural-urban inequalities in China.

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