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Contemporary China | Ant Tribes (Yizu) in China's contested Urban Space

Monday, April 11, 2022 at 11:30am to 1:00pm

Virtual Event

CCCI welcomes Kimiko Suda, Ph.D. Post Doc researcher, National Discrimination and Racism Monitor (NaDiRa) speaking on, 'Ant Tribes'(Yizu) in China´s contested Urban Space: A Discourse Perspective.'

In 2009 the term "Yizu" (Ant tribe) was selected as one of the ten most popular terms in China´s social media discussions. It was coined by the economist Lian Si to provoke a discussion about the social group of migrant graduates from China´s rural areas, working and living in precarious situations in China´s biggest cities, often in so-called urban villages. The term was taken up by various actors from governmental strategists, scientists, social media influencers, TV-script writers, novelists, to critical media activists. They functionalized the figure of the "Yizu" to tell their version of the story about the "Chinese Dream“, urban transformation processes, social stratification, social mobility, new emerging collective identities, and different shades of the brightness of the future. When analyzing the different variations of the narratives about "Yizu", it all boils down to one question: how to keep your human dignity in a social context, in which an increasing economization and mediatization of almost everything shapes everyday life, and makes it impossible to create a stable, publicly respected and self-determined social identity and position.

Kimiko Suda´s talk is based on a chapter of her book "Das Phänomen Yizu“ (published in September 2021 by transcript)

The Contemporary China Initiative this spring is directed by Arnika Fuhrmann, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University and the author of Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema.

This semester's CCCI lecture series is connected to Asian 6623 being taught by Professor Fuhrmann called 'The City.'

CCCI spring 2022 is co-sponsored by the East Asia Program, the Department of History, Asian Studies, The Cornell Society for the Humanities, and the Migrations initiative.

Dial-In Information

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Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, East Asia Program, Asian American Studies Program, Asian & Asian American Center, China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Cornell China Center, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Southeast Asia Program, Media Studies, Migrations

University Themes



Einaudi, asianstudiescal, aap, aaspcal, mediastudiescal, cashum






Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Amala Lane


Kimiko Suda, Ph.D. Post Doc researcher

Speaker Affiliation

National Discrimination and Racism Monitor (NaDiRa), which is based at the German Centre for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) in Berlin.

Dept. Web Site

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