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Readings (due November 13)

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 7 months ago

To comment on the following readings, please first indicate your name, e-mail address, and the date of your post. Then, add your comments.

 

Example: [E. Kintz, kintz@geneseo.edu, 8/25]

 

 

IN THE FUTURE COMMENTS - LET'S BEGIN TO THINK LIKE CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS AND USE THE SCHEMATA THAT SCHOLARS APPLY TO THE STUDY OF OTHER CULTURES. PLEASE IDENTIFY YOUR FOCUS FOR YOUR WIKI POST AS:

 

A. ENVIRONMENT

B. KINSHIP AND MARRIAGE

C. ECONOMICS

D. POLITICS

E. IDEOLOGY/SYMBOLISM

F. SOCIAL CHANGE

 

YOU NEED TO HAVE THREE COMMENTS FROM EACH READING USING AND IDENTIFYING THE CATEGORY ABOVE AND YOU MAY USE THE SAME TOPIC MULTIPLE TIMES IF YOU WISH. POSTINGS SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THREE SENTENCES. THIS WIKI IS DESIGNED TO ENSURE YOUR ATTENTION TO THE READINGS LISTED IN YOUR SYLLABUS AND TO ASSIST YOU IN MASTERING INFORMATION ON WORLD CULTURES AND PROVIDING YOU WITH A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

 

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens - "Population Quality: Discourse, Demographic Transition and Primary Education," The China Quarterly

Link to Library Page---- Click Find Articles, go to by jounral titles. Follow that link and type China Quarterly and search. On this link click the China Quarterly link in the left hand column. Login if you are not on the campus network. At the site search within the journal, the search bar is on the right side in the middle of the page, for the article above, then read it and post.

 

 

Type your comments here . . .

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 11-18-07]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

-The idea of the minban schools to help China "walk on two legs" by getting a basic education to peasant children without access to further education while regular schools catered to children in more urban areas. Minbans combined teaching and farming, which is far more relevant to peasant children than a more complete education that they might receive elsewhere.

END

 

Turning Peasants into Modern….

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 11/19]

Politics: Minban schools were established to provide education for as many children as possible. These schools seemed to be more useful for the peasants because it provided them with an education and a means of income for their teaching skills. ‘Regular education’ on the other hand was more for children who lived in urban areas. It was available to a smaller number of people with better quality of education. These schools were state funded and emphasized the importance of education and exams. As time has progressed, more standardized and decentralized forms of education have emerged in China.

END

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 11/28)

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

- As with Larkin and Lanh, I found the minban school situation intriguing. These schools, which were established in order to educate the most number of kids possible in the most constructive (or beneficial) way possible, reminded me of the vocational section of my high school. This part of the school focused its education on common areas of study used to prepare its students for the application of their focus. There was a negative connotation that went along with the school. A criticism that it was not difficult and did the opposite of what it was intended for. This form of education, however, always seemed beneficial to me. In the context of the minban school, this exactly, and effectively, what the education is based upon. The idea that this education, which is essential to their survival, is being altered so that they can "walk on two legs". The way that minban schools educate their students allow them to be prepared for the awaiting world. The normal education of schools we are accustom to is suited more appropriately for the urban areas, where it is more necessary. I do agree with the progressions of cultures and societies, however, only when it is their decision or choice to "move forward".

 

[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 12/10]

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

It seems that the idea of suzhi is one that would benefit the entire population as a whole, with its methods to increase the level of education and quality of life, but in order to achieve it, the population size has to be restricted and child-rearing/births limited. The slogans urge the people to have fewer children to increase the standard of living which is beneficial to the country, but doesn't seem completely foolproof. This must bring up issues with abortion and emergency contraception. It may raise more instances of women killing their children which I don't think would be very beneficial at all. Clearly the large population of China poses many problems and setbacks towards achieving the quality of life people wish to have in certain areas.

 

Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 12/12

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

It seems to me that this article focused a lot on the separation of the school systems for the peasants and the "normal" students. It seems like the minban schools were only created for the peasants to learn there, and that it is of lesser value than the normal schooling systems. However, the minban schools did make a difference because they allowed some of the more educated peasants to be able to make a living by teaching, and thus they could obtain money. I feel like this school would be kind of demeaning to the students who attended it because they would only be going there to prepare themselves for better school. I think that they are segregating against peasant children in a way, and they are not sure that these students would not be equally as smart as those in the urban schools.

 

END

 

Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/12

 

I found this read to be of particular interest to me. I think the fact that these schools educate chinese peasants for practical reasons is both a good and bad thing. Of course these schools are educating people to continue to be farmers and agriculturalists, which is good for them because they will continue to be able to live. However, the schools seem to be desirous of maintaining what i am going to call the Static Quo, or maintenance of the same status and keeping things unchanged. It is difficult to figure out a way for these schools to combine formal education and practical education but the government might want to avoid formal education to prevent peasant uprising.

 

[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/07]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens: Population Quality: Discourse, Demographic Transition and Primary Education

Politics: China’s goals for rural modernization are framed in terms of “population quality”, or sushi (Murphy 2004: 1). This idea emerged only in the 1980s and has historical antecedents in Confucian teachings that all people can be shaped and improved upon, and that all subjects share responsibility for the empire. This term is important to legitimizing party-state policies, as well as empowering villages. Even so, sushi embodies unequal power relations in legitimizing a modernization agenda.

END.

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens: “Population Quality: Discourse, Demographic Transition and Primary Education”

IDEOLOGY: This idea of training students from rural areas to become part of the modern community has its disadvantages and advantages. I am sure that this “change” is meant to be good and for the people. However, how can someone decide this for a large population? It is said that the ideology behind this is Suzhi, which is derived from related systems of valuation already part of the Chinese development, such as town versus country, civilized versus barbarian, or culture and without culture. It seems that this ideology is too black and white. It is also stated that “groups in lower valued situations are seen to need special remedial attention”. Is that for someone to decide?

 

END

 

Charlie Genao cg7geneseo.edu, 12/16

 

This is very interesting because as I was reading it, it sounded like a good plan but when I thought about it I realized it had its disadvantages. The Suzhi has its own values and goals which can be troublesome if the peasants believe in something else. This policy remains me of the Aborgine film where the whites thought they were helping the natives by taking the half caste children and teaching them their way of life what they taught was right.

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

The Miban Schools were established to educate as many peasant children as possible. Giving them an education along with the skills to continue farming. This provided education along with future means to earn an income. This was good because they could continue to make a living through farming, however there was no way for them to move up in society and achieve more in life.

END

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

Social Change- I'm always intrigued by the way anthropologists can study Chinese peasants, a subset of the whole Chinese population, very much in the same way they can study indigenous, isolated tribes throughout the world. I'm just never sure whether or not Chinese peasants can provide a model for policies with indigenous cultures, or if we should look to indigenous cultures to provide answers for Chinese peasants. The process of modernization of indigenous people is one that often comes under scrutiny, but it seems like a much more reasonable approach to take with Chinese peasants. I'm just not sure how applicable that is to indigenous cultures overall.

END

 

[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 12/16]

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens: “Population Quality” Discourse, Demographic Transition and Primary Education

Ideology: I found this read actually rather useful in that I learned many new terms from it such as the definition of “articulatory practices” which according to the author is the “practices which establish a relationship among and between objects and actions such that their meaning is rather altered” (Murphy 2004:1). In addition to this, the first line was also interesting in how the author described China’s goals for rural modernization as being framed in terms of “population quality” which further “resonates with the definition of discourse as a system of meaning that embodied a way of thinking at a point in time and is thus produced through articualtory practices” (Murphy 2004:1). However, after awhile the read started getting confusing and hard to fully gasp and understand, for instance, as to how the Chinese population quality spans disparate policy areas such as reproduction and child rearing going on to discuss how “quality” discourse encourages parents, teachers along with students to regulate their conduct and eventually going more in-depth about the term sushi which basically means “essentialized quality,” and amorphous concept that refers rather more to the innate and nurtured physical, intellectual and ideological characteristics of a person. In all, lots of terms and facts that help open the eyes of the reader to see the bigger picture of the Chinese educational ways and how the peasants were viewed and studied; overall, to me, the approach sounds ok but we still need to think over everything before making decisions that can have a great impact. END

 

 

[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

Education: The situation with the minban style of education is a bit conflicting to me. Children who are born peasant farmers are likely to inherit that vocation from their parents and in their situation, education that teaches them the essentials in the context of their own lifestyle I think would be very useful and most beneficial to them. However, there are those random exceptional people who excel above the rest of their peers who would could be the next genius who discovers something like a new fuel source. Long shot example, I know, but I feel that people who could go on to be really great and important in a different vocation should be able to have the chance to learn about other things that are unrelated to their family and social vocation. And the primary time for this discovery is when people are children when their minds are most moldable. Thus, I feel the minban is both beneficial and potentially not. –END-

 

 

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

Change—In a nation with a billion people, and a huge land area with many physical geographic features adding to isolation of certain regions, it is understandable that some areas are difficult to “modernize.” We tend not to think of this as a problem in our own country, but as we see from later readings in this class such as “Deprivation,” it is still a problem in the US. I like many of the ideas especially several educational that are being employed in China, but it sounds like they have a long uphill battle still. China certainly as a tougher battle than we do as we are much farther ahead and have fewer parts of our country so geographically isolated.

END

 

 

 

[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

I think it's imperative that the Chinese modernize, especially with the way they have become a global power. China has already become halfway Westernized. If the Chinese peasants are not brought along with the suburban areas, they will become the bottom tier of the Chinese social ladder. In order for the entire Chinese population to advance, the Chinese peasants have to catch up, and although this will not be easy, it is necessary.

 

 

[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

Turning Peasants – The schooling practices keep reminding me of Rabbit-Proof Fence where they tried to teach the half-caste children how to live in white society and assimilate to modern culture. It is sad that education is one of the factors which are used to erase indigenous traditions. I agree with Al about the schools trying to maintain the status quo and not adapting to the constant changes which are occurring in the world.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Civilians

Politics/ Social change: The Chinese government has tried to use school and social implements to regulate Chinese peasants. Apparently, they are accused of preventing the progress of China as a nation if they do not adhere to these policies. The government is improving the lives of its citizens, but more on a superficial level since in reality their situations have worsened, as can be seen in the decrease of funding for health, the increase in market fluctuations and the lack of standardized costs for farmers (4). These policies have actually put pressure on parents to send their children to school. The expense of sending two children has prevented many from having larger families. Therefore the government is controlling the birth rate through their pressure on citizens to be good citizens, self-reliant and successful.

-END-

 

 

{Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17}

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

SOCIAL CHANGE: In this article, Rachel Murphy discusses the concept of suzhi, which refers to quality of life, and how it is being altered through a multitude of programs. These programs work to enhance education of peasants, increase the labor force, and provide general welfare for Chinese peasants. She also stresses the importance of self-reliance and a responsibility for their own well-being in helping solve the problems facing peasants today. Murphy believes that by removing state intervention in welfare, they can work to improve their own quality of living.

~END.

 

[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

Politics-China, once focused on the number of citizens, first promoting growth, then limiting it, is now focused on the quality of the lives of those citizens. The Chinese concept of quality, or suzhi, is now the focus of the government in its work trying to educate the peasantry and provide them with services that have been available to modern China for years. The government is attempting to even out the huge gap between the rural peasantry of the interior and the urban modernized Chinese in the big cities along the coast.

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

Change: It is nice to see such changes in educational needs of the peasants and the effort that the government is finally making to help its people. But are they doing enough? Seemingly, the government does one thing at a time to shut the people up and not hear any more needs from them for another couple of years. It is amazing how the government chooses not to take care of its own people and rather they choose to take care of the technological competition that runs among different nations.

 

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

 

Turning Peasants into Modern Chinese Citizens

 

SOCIAL CHANGE: The discussion of Suzhi brings up issues in the private sphere, relating to the nation's role in regulating reproduction, outlining proper parenting, and socializing children to become modern citizens. However, modernization policies have resulted in farmer restrictions, lower living standards in agricultural areas, and employment loss for rural teachers.

-END-

 

 

A Daughter of Han

 

Type your comments here . . .

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 11-14-07]

A Daughter of Han

-The instance where she talks about staying in bed when Mantze was born (p 46-47) was interesting to me in light of other classes I have taken. She says that after this birth, it was the most she ever stayed in bed; in my medical anthropology class we talked a lot about different birth customs, and only in Western culture is staying in bed for days after birth the norm. In many other cultures women give birth and get back out to the fields immediately. For her to stay in bed for four days was amazing for her, but that would be fairly normal for an American woman.

END

 

[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 11/18]

 

A Daughter of Han

 

I read the chapter titled starvation which shed alot of light onto the difficult situations faced by many poor, chinese, working women. She and her children were starving and had no money to buy food, nor did she have anything to cook what food she found in because her husband took all of the money and sold all of their things for opium. It was really sad to see the conditions people had to live in and the pain caused by opium use. There was also mention of "foreiners" who helped her with food and clothing as well as "missionaries" which showed some social change. Reading about the beggars makes you think of the homeless people in your own city or town and what their life may be like. It was also sad to realize how limited the role of women was and how dependent they were on their husbands.

END

 

 

A Daughter of Han

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@genesoe.edu, 11/19]

Tradition: On page 11, the line, “and the neighbors called me Hsiao Wutse, Little Five, because I was the fifth child my mother bore” stands out to me because in my family, our community names were based on the order of birth also (Pruitt 1967). My mom is known as Lady Eight because she was the 8th child in her family and I am known as Lady Six.

In P’englai, customs were very strict for women. Women were considered not clean and they were not allowed to touch anything specified otherwise, it would give her power over the family that she was visiting and so ruin them. A lot of Chinese rituals and traditions revolve around ‘luck’ and the future of the family.

END

 

 

[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 11/23]

 

A Daughter of Han

 

IDEOLOGY: I found the stories her father recited about their ancestors, the city, and social norms to be very insightful. One warned against anger, which was represented by the thirty-foot hole dug in the ground at the old site of a power-hungry eunuch. This hole must never be filled because it stands as a symbol of the “end of wickedness.” Another story was about the T’ung family of scholars, who came into contact with the Master of Wind and Water when he was trying to steal from them. Regardless, they fed him and sent him off with many goods. Good fortune soon followed the Master, and he returned the T’ung family’s favor by providing a good burial spot for the man and his wife. When the daughter interfered with his specific burial instructions (believing them to resemble Pauper burials), the blessings were released from their family; after this, women were no longer allowed to attend burials in that province. Another story was about one who wished to become immortal, but when he was finally presented the chance, he could not take a leap of faith, and thus spent the rest of eternity (embodied in a statue facing the direction in which the Immortals headed) waiting for the opportunity to arise again.

END

 

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/24]

A Daughter of Han

Ideology: Similar to other cultures, women are perceived as unsanitary and are not allowed to touch much of anything. Superstition is major within this culture so the fear of a woman bringing bad luck or damage the fortune of her family is strongly restricted so there is so little women can do.

 

 

 

[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 11/21/07]

A Daughter of Han

Ideology: As with “Tan-A-hong,” I never realized the extent that filial piety and family values and association were a part of Chinese life. Confucius must have had perfect parents, because he just seems to assume that everyone’s parents will be wise and perfect, and that is why they should be so honored. It basically fails to acknowledge that we are all human and will all make mistakes. I felt as though the novel was written almost as sort of a propaganda to make Chinese women not upset at their position.

 

END

 

[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 12/2]

 

A Daughter of Han

 

Economy: It is sure proof just how much society influences our lives. In chapter 6 it talks about the protagonist and her problems with starvation. In Chinese society of the time period of this book, for women to go out and work is a mark of shame, and rather than shame herself and her family, she stayed at home. In fact she knew nothing else. Those people grew up to believe that women could do nothing but groom themselves and such. Therefore, the societal pressures on the people not only influenced their actions but also their mindset, nearly preventing them from saving themselves in a horrible and life threatening situation. END

 

 

Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 12/12

 

A Daughter of Han

 

I think that this book did a good job at demonstrating the hardships of life as well as the struggles of women at the time. In chinese society, women seemed to be viewed as a type of possession, and they are only considered free when they are young children. By the time they are teenagers they are married and soon after they have children. Many times the economy is not good enough to support the family, or in this case, the husband chooses not to. The woman is then forced into begging otherwise she and her children would not survive, something that is looked down upon in the chinese society. Although she is begging, she is trying to care for her child, something that her husband seems unwilling to do...wouldnt she get some sort of credit for this?

 

END

 

Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/12

 

I think that what Larkin alluded to was extremely interesting. After giving birth, she remained in bed for four days. This cultural practice is extremely normal to American families. Women who have just given birth need to rest and recover in the comfort of the hospital and the care and guidance of doctors. But with so much human diversity and variation, different groups are bound to do different things. Women in chinese culture, who must work constantly are expected to return to their work the very next day following their giving birth. They certainly need to rest, but the need for work seems to transcend what is seen as healthy and normal for women in more "developed" countries. It is sad, but the only reason we see this as sad is because we have it better.

 

[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/07]

A Daughter of Han

Ideology: It was interesting that the girl first did not know about missionaries and the tall man with the black beard was the devil (Pruitt 1945: 145). Then she became used to them. Some believed in their religion and others maintained their traditional beliefs. This shows how outside forces can change certain members of a group but also how others successfully retain their culture.

END.

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

 

Daughter of Han

ECONOMICS: It seems as though this character’s economic state is the concentration in this book. However, it is not merely the fact that she was poor as a child but how she dealt with her situation. She describes her childhood with details illustrating how her family had less each year. There is one line where it really shows how poor they were. On page 17, she asks her father, “Are we such that we put our parents above the ground?” The reason why she asked this is because poor people could not afford to dig a deeper hole for their ancestors. I thought that this really showed how much she worked and how she had to worry about her financial situation at such a young age.

 

END

 

{Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 12/14}

 

A Daughter Of Han

 

KINSHIP/MARRIAGE: I was very interested in the rights of women after marriage. It seems as though there is an overwhelming level of responsibility forced onto these young women. During their unmarried years, they are forced to pay back the debt of their financial burden by working at a young age. After they are married, these women are often abused and desperately lonely. Though it is custom for girls to visit their mothers each month, they visit with the knowledge that they will soon have to return to the misery brought upon them by their husbands' laziness, drug addictions, etc. Families cannot help their daughters in this regard, and women are scolded if they show emotion upon leaving home again.

~END.

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 12/15)

 

Daughter of Han

 

-Kinship: The point made about the birthing process and pregnancy is very intriguing. There are clear differences between our culture and China's, however, there are certain societal qualities I feel many take for granted or assume are shared by a diverse number of people. The issue of pregnancy and birth in China is treated much differently than it is in our culture, as shown through Daughter of Han. The women are expected to maintain their usual work load while pregnant and to resume it immediately after birth of their child (or soon after). To us, the view can be proven in a completely medical manner. Women need to be able to recover from such a strenuous act, in our view, and it is unfortunate and wrong when they aren't allowed this apparent necessity. I agree with Al, however; as a society we view this as sad and wrong simply because we are afforded the convenience and privilege of having these allowances.

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Daughter of Han

 

Kinship - "How can there be a country if there are no families and children?" (P239)

I just thought this quote really shows how important family and kinship is for Chinese peasants. This is a question that would never come from our own culture. The fact of the matter is, though, that these people have so little that they have nothing to depend on besides their families. The country is literally built on top of the family unit, and children ensure that the nation will continue. Its something so pivotal to these people, and this quote really exemplifies that.

END

 

[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Daughter of Han

As in many cultures, Chinese women are viewed as inferior to men, even though they had quite a bit of responsibility. They had the financial burden of caring for their family, first their parents and then once married, their husband. However, they were restricted in what they could do so they often resorted to begging or prostitution in order to provide for her family.

END

 

[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 12/16]

 

A Daughter of Han: The Autobiography of a Chinese Working Woman by Ida Pruitt

Kinship/Ideology: I found the marriage chapter rather very interesting to read in that it exposed the reader to the Chinese’s kinship ways. Here, like many other various cultures we find the superiority of men over women; for instance, “Everyone in the village had the same surname as my husband” (Priutt 1967:39) this indicating that families were named after a male figure rather than that of a female. In addition to this we can see another example where the male had more power with the first emperor Lao Yang Ling of the Sui dynasty. Here the author mentions how this emperor was a healthy, great warrior who had a troop of maidens pull him around a cart. Going on writing about how he would even strip the maidens naked and have them pull him while laughing at them. But what I found more interesting in this read was how Lao Yang Ling did not know the difference between his own mother and sisters and other women. The next example the author touches upon was shocking of the young wife discovering how her husband had slept with his own mother. To us, Americans, this all comes to us as a cultural shock; how can one not know who his own mother or sister is and thinking about just sleeping with a family member makes one feel sick-I know I did when I read that part. Overall, good chapter if one wants to know more about their marriage ways and how these people’s minds are set. -END-

 

[Brendan Ryan, bmr4@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

 

A DAUGHTER OF HAN

 

KINSHIP:

In Chinese peasant society women definitely occupy a subordinate position on the social ladder than men. They begin work at a young age and then once they get married it gets even harder. I’ve always wondered why this seems to be the case cross-culturally. There is no instance that I’m aware of where males are considered to be subordinate to women even though it seems like in almost every society women do more of the work. It must have some biological basis but I can’t understand what sort of selective advantage this would impart.

 

Charlie Genao cg7@geneseo.edu. 12/16/07

 

Family

 

The women are oppressed beyond belief. In page 29 in her growing up section her father was very strict he didnt allow her or her sister to go outside after their 13 birthday and also it is amazing that when people ask of her the neigbors would answer. To me that is really shocking I know I cant live in those conditions not being able to go outside. She had absolutely no freedom she could not decide what to wear nor she cant raise her voice when her father came she had to leave the room and also the things she wear had to be dignified. I cant see myself in those conditions and being married of when being only 13 yrs old. I would get the feeling that I am not wanted that I am a burden. I cant even imagiend the pain.

 

[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

A Daughter of Han

 

Filial piety is such a powerful force in Chinese culture that it completely strips children of their individuality. It seems like parents mold their children into younger versions of themselves. This does seem to happen to some extent with every parent because their children, in one way or the other, has common characteristics. However, by giving no freedom whatsoever to their children, some Chinese parents keep change from happening. This is even worse when daughters are told day after day that they are inferior to men. It will simply continue if no one intervenes.

 

 

[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

A Daughter of Han – The role of women changes so drastically between cultures. I was both surprised and not surprised to see how women were viewed in Chinese culture. It brought up images of foot binding and also of the Disney version of Mulan where a woman took on the role of a man even at the risk of shaming her family. It also makes me glad to belong to a culture and time period where women are more or less on equal footing, especially in comparison to some of the other cultures we learn about.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

A Daughter of Han

Economics/Social structure: Ning Lao T’ai-t’ai had an extremely difficult life shaped by poverty, mostly as a result of her husband’s heavy addiction to opium. In the chapter “Starvation,” one can really read about her suffering. Ning was so hungry she pounded a brick so she could eat it. As a woman, she felt as though she could not leave her courtyard since the neighbors would talk about it and laugh. She eventually had no other option and was forced to beg on the streets from the missionaries. She had to tarnish her family’s reputation and take the blows to her pride in order to feed and protect herself and her child.

-END-

 

[Justin Wilmott, jmw23@geneseo.edu 12/17]

A Daughter of Han

With China being called the Next Great Super Power, predicted to become larger and more powerful that the United States, it is surprising to think that much of the land is run and maintained by peasants, and that their life style is not fitting to that of what we might expect of a new world power. I also find it interesting (and this is seen in many countries) that those who provide the basic necessities of the country are the ones who are facing some of the greatest hardships of the country, proving the saying, “It’s the shoes makers children that go barefoot”.

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[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

A Daughter of Han

Kinship and Marriage-Throughout the book A Daughter of Han you can see the division of the sexes both in how they are treated and what they do. The boys are valued more in Chinese society which is clear because they talk about spoiling the sons, but not the daughters. Also when the main character is starving she cannot even leaver her home, only her husband can, because of the social norms associated with the role of men and women. Ultimately as she is reduced to begging, she breaks these rules, showing that despite the strict division between the roles of men and women, ultimate poverty can break these divisions down.

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[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

A Daughter of Han

Kinship/Marriage/Ideology:  The ceremony of the wedding is interesting.  The entire walkway is covered with pieces of red felt to keep evil spirits from entering.  The brother of the bride walks beside the bride carrying a piece of red felt.  “He must protect her from the hungry ghosts” (37), these ghosts drowned themselves in the wells in the dark corners of the temple and without the brother protecting the bride these ghosts could be released.  He must also protect her from weasel spirits, fox fairies, and little demons “who might follow her home and possess her and make her leave the path of reason and do those things which people do not do” (37).  I think it is interesting how much ideology and superstition is involved in weddings.  The Chinese peasants work very hard for this happy time to not be tainted or corrupted by evil spirits.  It makes me wonder about our own marriage customs like needing something old, something new, something borrowed something blue”.  Or not seeing the bride the night before because it is bad luck.  I feel as though marriage is such a major event that people’s superstitions and beliefs might be intensified because they are so worried about something going wrong during it. 

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"Tan A-hong"

 

Type your comments here . . .

[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 11-14-07]

Tan-A-Hong

-Again in light of another anthro class and western culture... If a door is closed in Peihotien, the neighbors get worried and come to inquire as to what is the trouble. In Semai culture in Malaya, they have very open houses and people will just come in and hang out to talk and visit or eat whenever they wish. Neighbors in Peihotien can walk in, call out, and then leave, but more intimate friends and family can walk in and look around as they wish. Also in Western culture this is not something that we can do.

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[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu, 11/18]

Tan-a-hong

 

The aspect of no privacy is really strange coming from a society where people live in their own houses with their locked doors and windows and alarm systems. It seems that everyone is welcome everywhere at pretty much all times and they take advantage of this. It is interesting how prostitution is a noble means for a daughter to support her parents whereas in our culture prostitution is looked down upon. Again there is the problem of a member of the family dealing with a problem (in this case gambling) in which all of the money is spent and they have to resort to begging or selling their things. This seems to be a problem many chinese peasants had to deal with.

 

Tan-A-Hong

[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 11/19]

Tradition: It is interesting to read about a culture where children end up supporting and providing for the welfare of the parents/elders. Chun-ieng is expected to give all of her money that she makes as a prostitute to her mother as a repayment for her mom's caring, loving, and contributions for her when she was a child. It is also interesting to see how, like Western societies, once a daughter marries, she is not liable for providing for her parents anymore. Her duties are soley towards her husband and making him happy. I suppose if you look at it in another light, a female's role in society is kind of predetermined. They grow up to provide for the family, then they marry and provide for their husband and his family, then they expect their children to return the honor and care for them when they age.--Interesting and not too different from other cultures.

 

 

[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 11/24]

Tan-A-Hong

Ideology: It is amazing how united the people are. Everyone is trusted enough to enter and exit the houses that they’re surrounded by. It is almost like the whole community is a big family who cares greatly about each other and anyone would run to help another if trouble was upon them. The children work and support their families after becoming of age and this continues for generations. I think it is a very interesting culture and their values are very important and sacred to them.

 

[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 11-26]

 

IDEOLOGY: Prostitutes in China are viewed differently than prostitutes in America. Although they are not held up on a pedestal per se, they are not derided and general outcasts as they are in America. Oftentimes the prostitution was done to support a girl's parent, or she was sold into it as a child. The prostitutes are generally viewed as "more interesting" than the other women, but their sense of morality, as percieved by the public, is not determined by her profession. However, she should be caeful about working within her own village.

 

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[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 11/21/07]

“Tan-A-hong”

Ideology: Wow, I knew that Confucian societies placed a very high value on filial piety, but I had no idea it was this extreme. A daughter is expected to go into prostitution to earn money for her parents? And then not criticize them even if they gamble it all away?? To me, that is just absurd. Even if they don’t see prostitution in the way that we see it, I still don’t think that forcing someone into it is right…

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[Steph Aquilina, sma8@geneseo.edu, 11/25]

 

"Tan A-Hong: An Adopted Daughter"

 

KINSHIP & MARRIAGE/IDEOLOGY: Chinese children are socially and financially burdened by taking care of their parents – in some villages, the debt that a girl owes to her mother is paid by obeying the command to become a prostitute. Essentially, sacrificing her youth in order to support her mother is a daughter’s way of gaining a degree of control regarding her future; if she does not succumbed to this profession, the community is in charge of deciding the girl’s fate. Many prostitutes who do not have multiple abortions, illegitimate children, or adopt little girls to support them as they age out of their work are actually known to marry into reputable families; in fact, their youthful job is actually seen as a preventative measure for extramarital affairs. In Chun-ieng’s case, her mother vehemently refused her daughter’s marriage – despite the financial security her fiancée would bring – because this meant losing her authority over the girl and removing the girl’s loyalty and responsibility for sustaining her mother’s lifestyle.

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[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 12/2]

 

Tan A-hong

 

Society / Economy: I think it is interesting how the Chinese do not look down on women who become prostitutes because they repay their debt to their parents for raising them better than those girls who stay at home. In Chinese society, a woman is not good for much because she is taught that women are only to do housework or something of the sort. The only thing that women actually have to sell is themselves. In fact, a girl who has become a prostitute has more control over her own future since she has released herself of the debt to her family and often gets enough extra income to make it on her own. This is such a foreign concept to many Western societies, which probably explains why many Western societies look down on the Chinese culture. END

 

 

Kaitlyn northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 12/12

 

Tan-a Hong

 

It was interesting to me how the girls were adopted into a family and then given away to the highest bidder, usually to become a prostitue. This seems like quite a harsh and unstable life for the young peasant girls and often times i feel like they would not be able to handle the pressure. Under usual circumstances, after a young girl is given away to her new family, the previous one ceases all responsibility, but in this case she kept returning to her adopted family for care. I also found it interesting that women are not looked down upon when they become prostitutes, because in actuality she is making enough income to make it on her own. This is often looked down upon by societies like ours, and could be part of the reason why we seem to degrade the chinese society.

 

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Alfred Dilluvio ajd12@geneseo.edu 12/12

 

I cannot believe this tale. Women expected to enter into prostitution. Women enduring work and labor and work in some unfavorable circumstances all in order to prevent the very same fates for their children. It seems like they take the notions of the family and its importance to the extreme. This reading illuminated much about traditional chinese notions of filial piety. Women would be discouraged from marrying because when they marry others they would become his property and that would shift herself and her labor to be his property. Families needed these women to work and they needed their loyalty in order to ensure the families' survival.

 

[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 12/13/07]

Tan A-Hong: An Adopted Daughter

Ideology: It is interesting that this book shows how even the cultural norms of a society can be breached. The Lim’s did not have to treat Tan A-hong so well, and their obligations to her should have ceased when she married. Even so, the Lim’s took care of her and her child.

END.

 

 

 

[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

 

“Tan A-hong”

KINSHIP/MARRIAGE: As I was reading this story, it was very strange to me how this system worked. Apparently, it is common for families to adopt children. However, what was strange was that they would take care of the children until they didn’t need them anymore. And then the only option would be to sell them to the highest bidder. I thought that this was very different from our culture because to adopt a child means to bring someone into your family. In addition, according to the narrator, the kinship between Tan A-hong and her family was very strong and intimate. So I’m wondering how they can just give her away to someone else after that person has become part of them.

 

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{Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu}

 

"Tan A-hong"

 

IDEOLOGY/ECONOMICS: I found the status of prostitutes to be a very interesting aspect of this article. Prostitution is a common institution among daughters of chinese peasants--often times to relieve the family debt or provide an alternative source of revenue. These women enjoy fine goods and respect while they are young and beautiful, but once they begin to age, they rapidly lose their status. Women, like Tan A-hong, often suffer from gambling problems and throw away what money the do earn on this addiction. Tan A-hong has forced her daughter into the same situation as she to earn money to support these gambling problems and because she does not know of any other way to harbor her skills for any other purpose.

~END.

 

(Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 12/15)

 

"Tan A-Hong" - An Adopted Daughter

 

-Kinship: The idea that Lim was "being generous", by Taiwanese standards, in not simply selling Tan A-Hong to the highest bidder is quite grounging. Simply because Tan was Lim's "adopted daughter" meant that he would have been completely justified in this act. This give us a glimpse into the treatment or value of individuals outside of one's own family in Taiwan. It is startling to think that these humans could be discarded or sold when they could not be afforded to either dealers who bought them to be raised as prostitutes and slaves, or rather adopted by prostitutes themselves to be used in the profession. It was simply by the graces of Lim that Tan was adopted by a family who wished to choose the future wife for their son. Lim, in this way, treated Tan as his own daughter and sent her to a family who would not simply exploit her as a woman. Our culture, obviously, does not condone this type of treatment and once again shows the separations of values and morals.

 

[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 12/14]

“Tan A-hong: Adopted Daughter”

Economics: In Taiwan, the economic needs of a family were placed above the dreams of a woman. Like many young women Chun-ieng’s age, the longer one is a prostitute, the less likely it is they will be able to marry into a wealthy family and live a moral life. Chun-ieng had to support her mother and follow societal standards of being a good daughter and turning over her earnings. She had the prospect of marrying into a wealthy family and escaping life as a prostitute and the daily problems with her mother. However, in the end, her arrangements fell through and she continued working and giving her money to her mother. It is probable that her situation is similar to that of many young women who have the economic burden of compensating their parents.

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[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

 

Tan-A-Hong

Prostitution was used as a means to support ones family, and children were often sold into the business at an early age to support their parents. Children were faced with the burdens of providing for their parents, which usually stunted their childhood. Families actually adopted children and then once they could no longer provide for them or had no need for them, they were sold to the highest bidder.

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[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 12/16]

Tan-A-Hong

 

Economic: Here in this read we see how wealthy the rich people are and how underprivileged the poor people are. For instance, people in this part of the world would sell other human-beings for money and according to the author “the highest bidders in those days were dealers who bought attractive female children to rise as prostitutes, wealthy families who wanted slaves or prostitutes who adopted daughters to rise in their profession as support for their own old age,” seen on page 100 (similar to what happened here with African Americans and slavery). This is sad, because unfortunately, the poor people had no say because they came from a low-status way of life. And as one can see from the article, young girls, as young as Chun-ieng often went into the business of prostitution as the only means to survive: “too many village girls have had to “go out to work” to support aging parents or young siblings.” (seen on page 103) Here in the read, the author goes on talking about how often times girls are raised for the sole purpose to become prostitutes and how the girl follows it as a repayment of the debt that she owes her parents for raising her and thus by giving up her youth, the author claims she has gained a certain amount of control over her future. This all, I find quite interesting, it is said that economic difference between various groups causes one group to take such drastic measures in-order to survive. END

 

[Brendan Ryan, bmr4@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

TAN-A-HONG

 

Kinship:

Filial piety is an important feature of Chinese culture. Children are expected to support their parents when they’re old and can’t support themselves any longer. Females especially seem to shoulder he majority of this burden, since they were looked at as a burden themselves when they were younger. It will be interesting in the future to see how the Chinese “one child” policy affects this relationship when a shrinking younger population is going to be responsible for providing for a larger group of elderly.

 

Charlie Genao cg7@geneseo.edu 12/16/07

 

It think it is sick that people sell other human beings especially females so that thier sellers would get money. Most of these girls would end up being prostitutes and slaves for the people who are rich. It is even harder knowing that you are a burden anyway to begin with. The worst thing about is that the people who are doing the selling are the girls own families. Becuase of the emphisis on taking care of your elders these families these girls are put into these professions.

 

[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 12/16]

Tan-A-Hong

It bothers me that the slavery described is different from other instances in that the people selling slaves off is the slave's own family. In a society where daughters have been so devalued, it makes sense. Still, it is inhuman. The entire system is monstrous, from the wealthy who believe they can buy people to the poor who believe lives can be sold for money.

 

[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 12/17]

Tan A-Hong

 

Kinship - It is interesting that although Chinese culture places a huge emphasis on Kinship and family relationships, a sort of "artificial" family relationship, such as adoption, is viewed as virtually meaningless. Its very striking that it would have been commonplace for Tan A-Hong to be sold into slaver or prostitution, simply because she was an adopted daughter and not a daughter by birth. It seems odd that this would be so, since even in-law relationships are highly respected, so the Chinese cultural importance goes beyond sanguineal relations, but seemingly does not extend to include adoption.

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[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

Tan-a-Hong – I found it interesting to see that the children were expected to provide for their parents after they are adults themselves. I work in a nursing home back home so I see a lot of children who would rather have complete strangers taking care of their parents rather than be burdened with them. Working there makes me sad when children come in and argue with their parents about what a burden they are. It’s not as though our parents told us how we burdened them growing up. It’s sad that our culture looks down on the elderly when so many cultures hold them up so high. We could learn so much from their wisdom if we would just get over ourselves long enough to listen.

 

END

 

 

[Adam Saunders, ars11@geneseo.edu, 12/16/07]

“Tan A-hong”

The life of the Chinese peasent was indeed a fasinating read. The Chinese attitude of the prostitute for example I found to be much different than our western thought. Unlike in western society the morality of a girl is not staind at all just because she is a prostitute. They are often times not “going out on the street” because they want to, but because they have to in order to support their family. This supporting of the family is highly valued in Chinese society. Another main point that I found interesting in regards to the life of the Chinese peasent was how the Chinese viewd the beauty of a woman. For example how they viewed the feet of a woman as a symbol of beauty. There was unlike our culture a view of a womans feet being much more important than the beauty of her face. For this they bound the feet, in order to make them small, and unbound feet was a sign of lazyness.

 

[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

“Tan A-hong”

Kinship-The concept of adoption in Chinese culture is very different from in our culture. Here adopted children are expected to be raised the same as birth children. I grew up with three adopted sisters and each of the six kids in my family were treated equally and loved by my parents. In China though, adopted children can be sold when they are not useful anymore creating a distinct difference between birth children and adopted children. While this is a cultural practice, it is difficult for me to fathom loving one child differently than another because you did not birth them.

 

 

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[Justin Wilmott, jmw23@geneseo.edu 12/17]

"Tan-a-hong"

Among one of the views in “Tan-a-hong” that interest me the most is the views the Chinese have on prostitution. Much like in America where some women are in the profession to provide for their family or children, the same is seen in China. However, what is interesting is the view the public has on the prostitutes. They are not considered immoral based on their occupation, but on their actions out side (and sometimes within) their job. Also the idea that women are sold into prostitution at a young age is something that unsettles my mind.

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[Dan McConvey, dpm5@geneseo.edu, 12/17/07]

'Tan-a-hong"

 

Ideology:  The view of prostitution is much different in this culture.  The question of morality in being a prostitute is not as strong as it is in American culture.  The culture has such a strong basis in reciprocity within the family that prostitution is seen as an option of repaying the daughter’s debts to the family.  This repayment can even provide the prostitute with an opportunity to create a future for herself.  The job is not glorified but is also not heavily criticized because it is not prostitution that makes the person it is how the woman acts.  “In the village her respectability depends upon how careful she is to walk within the paths of traditional morality when she is home for a few days each month, how compliant she is in turning over the majority of her earning to her parents, and how cautious she is with village males (5).  The prostitution must also take place outside of the woman’s village.  I think that it is interesting that this profession of prostitution is not viewed with the same negative intensity of America.  There are cultural rules associated with the profession, but it is not given a stigma and is instead acknowledged as a somewhat profitable route for a woman to fulfill her duties as a daughter.

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