The Cornell Contemporary China Initiative Lecture Series, featuring interdisciplinary talks by scholars on issues in China today, runs every Monday this semester.
Tami Blumenfield, James B. Duke Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Furman University
This presentation will explore men's roles in Na communities of southwest China through a series of images and documentary clips. This is an area well known for its matrilineal family systems and for its sese sexual visit system, in which men leave their own home in the late evening and head to their partner's home. After spending the night together, the male partner departs, returning again to his own extended family's home. While this system's function has been explored in depth, few researchers have focused on how representations of Na men have affected people living in these communities. Instead, with many media representations focusing on the existence of 'free love' or on women’s “rule” of this land – e.g., this article from the Guardian—men are usually portrayed in oversimplified and stereotyped ways: either they are hypermasculinized or "lazy" because they "allow" women more control and more freedom.
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