Material Culture & Cultural Anthropology Reading Group
The Reading Group “Cultural Anthropology and Material Culture” consists of multiple international scholars with different research foci and discourses. And since the target area of the project, the Sinophone borderlands, is comparatively large, complex and heterogeneous in terms of geography, history, culture, and population, the geographical research foci are on selected areas within the Russian Federation, Inner and Central Asia (including Altai), Southeast Asia and Oceania (mainly Melanesia and Micronesia). Furthermore, the various case-studies of the group members are related to several kind of interactions along the Sinophone borderlands in terms of colonization, cultural exchange, economic development, ethnicity, food culture, historiography, migration, modernization, and land tenure. Additionally, the group member with focus on material culture put emphasis on the collection of specimens and artefacts as well as on analysing the artefacts in close cooperation with chemists within this project. However, the commonness of our group members is the methodological approach: By investigating and describing cultures and societies through fieldwork we all conduct ethnographic research.
The overall objective of this Reading Group is to give a valuable impact on the understanding of cultural traditions, intercultural borrowings and diffusions in the various contexts along the Sinophone borderlands. Thus, the focus on matters of transmission as social and cultural process inevitably leads to a greater awareness of how cultures are highly interwoven and interdependent.
The various research findings are not only presented at conferences and workshops, but are also published in international academic journals, edited volumes, and books.
Jan Daniel Bláha