This study focuses on the embodiment of Han in historical reenactments. I will show my ethnography of an event I joined in China in 2021 that reenacted the traditional celebrations of the mid-autumn festival. The re-enactors were primarily women who like wearing hanfu (汉服), allegedly the ethnic costume of Han Chinese. Poetically celebrating autumn, they reenacted the scenes of the elegant daily life of the scholar-gentries in the Ming dynasty, including kunqu (昆曲) performance and a crab feast. The feast was reenacted based on the records in classic literature, such as The Dream of the Red Chamber.Using the theories of assemblage and affect (Puar, 2005), I shift away from the state's top-down construction of Han identity. My analysis explores the mnemonic practice of modern Han women that, through bodily gestures, senses (sound/taste/tactility), and yijing (意境poetic space), produces the memory/imagination of ancient Han women. I argue that the reenactors became the assemblage of Han in " the rhizomatic networks of temporality and cultural reference that exceed attempts at territorialization (whether at the local or national level) and identitarian reduction" (Rothberg, 2010). The affective memory was reproduced from diverse pasts that transcend regional borders, historical periods, and even realities. It disturbed the unified linear history that serves the nationalist construction of Han identity.
Zheng Ying, Utrecht University, Netherlands
About the Presenter(s)
I am a phd candidate from Institute for Cultural Inquiry at Utrecht University. I have the research master degree in Gender and Ethnicity and the research master degree in journalism and political communication.
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