Li Renyuanwan's Looking for History in the Field: 30 Years of Social History Research and Anthropology in South China

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Li Renyuanwan's Looking for History in the Field: 30 Years of Social History Research and Anthropology in South China

2019-03-01 16:01:35 900 ℃

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abstract: One of the important developments in the study of Chinese Ming and Qing history in recent years is to emphasize the study of local social history based on grassroots society, field investigation and local literature. Such a research orientation can be traced back to the cooperation between scholars trained in Western Social Sciences and local historians in South China in the 1980s. Therefore, such a research orientation is often labeled as "South China School" or "Historical Anthropology". Researchers in South China, like social science researchers of the same period, are also faced with the problem of how to deal with social structure in the direction of time. What is different is that the subjects studied by researchers in South China are grassroots societies with more profound historical influence and more long-term experience of interaction with the national system. This paper reviews the core issues discussed by the Ming and Qing Institute of Social History from the perspective of South China research in the past 30 years, including the historical process of grass-roots social structure, especially the role played by local practices of system and etiquette. It is also compared with the discussion of historical process, historical mentality and historical writing in western anthropological circles in the same period. < p > < p > keywords: historical anthropology, South China studies, Chinese history, structural process, Chinese rural society

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One of the important advances in the study of the history of Ming and Qing Dynasties in China in the past 30 years is to carefully examine local society from the viewpoint of the grassroots people, break through the single mode of official or squi 。 In order to get close to the viewpoints of grass-roots actors, these studies not only focus on the historical materials commonly used in the past, but also on field investigations and the excavation and application of local documents. As such a trend began in the villages of southern China, it was labeled as the "South China School", and was inspired by anthropology in research methods and analytical concepts, also known as "historical anthropology". The purpose of this article is not to argue whether these historical studies of China's grassroots society are anthropological. Whether there are so-called authentic anthropology and how to divide the boundaries of disciplines is of limited value to the production of academic knowledge, while with the change of research focus, various disciplines continue to adjust their research methods and analytical framework, and draw lessons from other disciplines, whether in history or anthropology, it is a natural trend. The focus is not on the "Whose" approach, but on whether such an approach helps to explore the problems that the basic concerns of its disciplines are intended to solve. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to review the development of this trend in the past 30 years, to sort out its main points, and to discuss its significance to history and anthropology in disciplinary methods.

The development background of South China research and historical anthropology

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attaches importance to fieldwork and local literature, and has the characteristics of cross-disciplinary grass-roots communities in China. The study of Hui history has its geographic factors since South China. Although we can take the South China Regional Society Seminar in Hong Kong in 1988, or the South China Regional Society and National Ideology Comparative Study Project hosted by Chen Qinan, Xiao Fengxia and David Faure in the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1991 to 1993 as an important target of South China research, including Guangdong, Fujian, Taiwan and Hong Kong. For centuries, it has been the experimental field of various humanities and social sciences such as anthropology. In a forum in 2014, Liu Zhiwei traced four academic sources of South China research: the Chinese folklore movement since 1920s, the tradition of Chinese social and economic history research, Chinese anthropology research, and Chinese research in the postwar academic context of the West (Liu Zhiwei 2016; Zhao Shiyu, Shen Bin 2015). These four sources are all related to the different depths of South China. Folklore activities advocating on-the-spot investigation and collecting folk information started in Beijing, but after the 318 Incident in 1926, the Beiyang government searched for dissenters, and a large number of scholars went south to shift the focus of the folklore movement to the south. With the establishment of the Institute of Chinese Studies of Xiamen University in 1926 and the Institute of Linguistic History Science of Sun Yat-sen University in 1927, Gu Jiegang and Rong Zhaozu opened the foundation of folklore studies in South China. Xiamen and Guangzhou have successively established "Customs Investigation Society" and "Folklore Society", while the Folklore Society has not only established branches in Fuzhou, Shantou and Hangzhou, but also published far-reaching periodicals and monographs such as "Folklore" and "Folklore Series" (Zhao Shiyu 1999; Wang Zhuan 2012:26-30). At the same time, Lin Huixiang, who graduated from Xiamen University in 1926 and went to Philippine University to study anthropology, and Yang Chengzhi, who participated in the Southwest Ethnic Survey of Sun Yat-sen University and obtained his doctorate degree in Ethnology in France, established the tradition of anthropology in Xiamen University and Zhongshan University respectively. The spirit of the folklore movement "knowing the people from the standpoint of the people" and "breaking the sage-centered history and building the history of the whole people" (Folk Customs Publication 1928) can echo the later studies in South China. The trend in the first half of the twentieth century and the anthropological traditions of Xiamen University and Zhongda University have influenced the studies in South China since the 1980s. Another indigenous source, the research tradition of China's social and economic history, is closely related to the subsequent studies in South China by the teacher-inheritance relationship. Chen Chunsheng's "History Field Series" published in 2006, like the General Preface of the guidelines "Towards the Historical Site", begins with the achievements of Fu Yiling of Xiamen University and Liang Fangzhong of Zhongshan University. As both nominal and substantive tutors, Fu and Liang both have social science background and are engaged in the study of China's socio-economic history. Shortly after graduating from the History Department of Xiamen University, Fu Yiling went to Japan in 1935 to work as a teacher sociologist, Matsumoto Run-ichiro. After returning to China, she entered the Economic Research Office of the Fujian Provincial Bank, which published various rural surveys. Liang Fangzhong entered the Peiping Institute of Social Investigation (the predecessor of the Institute of Sociology of the Central Academy of Sciences), which was chaired by Tao Menghe, a sociologist, after obtaining his master's degree in economics from Tsinghua Research Institute. He first taught in the Department of Economics of Lingnan University and then transferred to the Department of History of Sun Yat-sen Their research methods are influenced by social sciences, and they pay attention to on-the-spot investigation, and have also been invented in historical materials. When Fu Yiling retreated from Yongan during the war against Japan, he found hundreds of folk cultural conventions, as the basis of rural economic history, which were often praised as good stories. "We must not sit idly in our study and read all those books. At the same time, we must contact the society, recognize the society, conduct social investigation, combine living materials with dead words, and complement each other, so as to push forward the study of social and economic history.......................................... While collecting historical materials, we must broaden our horizons, make extensive use of relevant auxiliary scientific knowledge, exemplify history with folklore villages, inscribe history with physical tablets, and verify history with folk documents (contract documents). "(Fu Yiling 1983:40) was regarded as the criterion by South China researchers. In this study, we use genealogy, contract and other documents found in the countryside. Liang Fangzhong also went to the countryside to do field work in his early years. Ye Xianen, a graduate student he directed in the 1960s, was the first scholar to go to Huizhou to do field work. Later, Ye Xianen became the leader of field work in the Pearl River Delta in the 1980s. Liang Fangzhong's research on the Ming Dynasty's taxation system mainly relies on a large amount of data from local records and books, but at the same time he also pays attention to documents that are generally neglected, such as the Yellow Book, the deed of land, the record book, the land license, the serial tickets, receipts and other "physical evidence" (Liang Fangzhong 1989 [1951]:369). His elucidation of national systems such as taxation and corvee, household registration and so on was also inherited by later researchers in South China. The above two sources point to the integration of local materials and social sciences. However, the indispensable impetus of South China research in the 1980s comes from the achievements of overseas social scientists in South China. Since the 1950s, the Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas have become the bases for western social scientists to understand "Chinese culture" in the absence of field research in mainland China. William Skinner, Maurice Freedman, Barbara Ward, Arthur Wolf, James Watson and Myron Cohen are the most frequently cited anthropologists influencing South China studies (CoDavid 2004:9-10; Cheng Meibao, Cai Zhixiang 2001:2; Liu Zhiwei 2016; Xiao Fengxia 2004 [2001]:32). Since the 1970s, anthropologists trained academically in the West have returned to Taiwan and Hong Kong to establish their strongholds and initiate local research projects. Early Taiwan was led by Zhang Guangzhi in the 1970s. Wang Songxing, one of the members, was appointed to teach the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1977. He advocated the establishment of a regional database for the study of the local Han people in Hong Kong. He and Walter Ying, who also teaches at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, led students to conduct a long-term field survey in Gaoliuwan from 1979 to 1981 (Cai Zhixiang, 2004:4). Meanwhile, in 1976, inspired by James Hayes, David, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, organized a transcription project for Hong Kong inscriptions, which later became an oral history project (David 2004:10-11). In 1980, the Department of Anthropology of the Chinese University of Hong Kong was also independent from the Department of Sociology. Although there have been previous studies on the collection of local documents and the history of Hong Kong, as well as field work by Western scholars in Hong Kong, these two activities can be said to be the beginning of the social sciences research in which Hong Kong is the main body and local researchers combine field and literature.

Since the 1980s, with the opening of China's fields, overseas scholars have been able to study in the mainland of China and have closer exchanges with Chinese scholars (Cheng Meibao, Cai Zhixiang 2001:2). Such as the cooperation between Kenneth Dean of McGill University and Zheng Zhenman of Xiamen University in Fujian since 1984, and the cooperation between Xiao Fengxia of Yale University's Department of Anthropology and local scholars such as Ye Xian, Chen Chunsheng, Liu Zhiwei and Luo Yi-xing in Guangzhou who had been doing field activities in the Pearl River Delta in the 1970s. In the late 1980s, large-scale comparative projects began to emerge to integrate local and overseas scholars in different regions. From 1989 to 1994, a comparative study of Fujian and Taiwan societies and cultures, co-chaired by Wu Yashi of Stanford University, Zhuang Yingzhang of Institute of Ethnic Studies of Academia Sinica and Yang Guozhen of Xiamen University, has been jointly participated by anthropologists and historians. 1991