I am a 50% faculty member in Department of Religious Studies and 50% in Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies.
I am a cultural anthropologist interested in the intertwined processes of religiosity, secularization, and state operations in modernity, post-colonial, and Communist conditions. Areas of research and teaching: Chinese religions & secularization; critical theory; China Studies, sovereignty and state power; gender and feminism; media studies; cultural approaches to political economy.
I specialize in the study of China, with an interest in Sinophone cultures of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and the West. Although my research is based on fieldwork in contemporary China and Taiwan, it is always informed by a vision of the longue durée of Chinese history, and I seek to reconcile Western critical theory with Chinese philosophy and Chinese empirical findings.
I have assumed teaching, research, and visiting scholar positions at the University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Beijing University, Academia Sinica in Taiwan, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Center for the Study of World Religion at Harvard University. I was Director of Asian Studies at the University of Sydney in Australia 2007-09.
- Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation. Edited by Mayfair Mei-hui Yang. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.
link to the e-book version, free online: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3jn4j8cf
- 《礼物,关系学,与国家：中国人际关系与主体性建构》 杨美惠著。 江苏人民出版社，2009 年 (Mainland China public., slightly censored)
- 《禮物,關係學,與國家﹕ 中國人際關係與主體性建構》楊美惠著. 台北: 南天書局. (Taiwan public., uncensored)
- Spaces of Their Own: Women’s Public Sphere in Transnational China. Mayfair Yang, editor. University of Minnesota Press, (1999).
- Gifts, Favors, and Banquets: the Art of Social Relationships in China. Cornell University Press, (1994). (American Ethnological Society First Book Prize, 1997)
- book in-progress: Re-enchanting Modernity: Sovereignty, Ritual Economy, & Indigenous Civil Society in Coastal China.
- “Through Chinese Women’s Eyes” (1997) 50-minute documentary comparing Chinese urban women’s lives during the era of state feminism and gender erasure during the Maoist era, with the current era of commercialization, featuring gender difference, commodification of sexuality, and globalization. Film includes clips of Cultural Revolution and “revolutionary model operas”, as well as interviews with urban workers, intellectuals, and social workers in Shanghai and Beijing. (distributed by Women Make Movies: firstname.lastname@example.org and screened at the Creteil Women’s International Film Festival in Paris, France).
- “Public & Private Realms in Rural Wenzhou, China” (1994) 50-min. documentary about changes in a local community in rural southeast China: scenes of market economy, plowing of rice paddy, household factories, deity temple festival, lineage ancestor hall, Old People’s Association, Catholic Church, and private school (formerly distributed by U.C. Media Extension)
- (video clip in Quicktime link – takes a few seconds to load )
- (To order this film, please contact the filmmaker, Mayfair Yang, directly at: email@example.com. Only DVD’s available to institutions for $65.00 (+ $5 shipping) and for private individuals for $25.00 (+ $5 shipping). No rentals.
- “Critical Theory” (Relig Stud 200D)
- “Ethnographic Approaches to the Study of Religious Life” (Relig Stud 292EG)
- “Anthropology of China” (Chin 242; EACS 103A)
- “Chinese Religions: Past and Present” (Relig Stud 125)
- “Problems in the Study of Religion” (Relig Stud 104)
- “Sovereignty & Governmentality” (Relig Stud 273)
- “Anthropology of Religion” (Relig Stud 204)
- “Theory and Method for East Asian Studies” (East Asian 215)
- “Gender & Sexuality in Modern Asia” (East Asian 40)
- “Religious Practices & the State in China” (Relig Stud 183B)
- “Contemporary Issues in Cultural Anthropology” (Anthro 229C)
- “Anthropology of Gender” (Anthro 125)
- Gender & Sexuality in Modern Asia (EACS 40)
- “Anthropology of Media, Gender and Globalization” (Anthro 255)
- “Modernity and East Asia,” (Anthro 154)
- “Anthropology of the State,” (Anthro 216)
- “Religion, Modernity, and Politics” (Anthro 250MY)
- “Elements of Traditional Chinese Culture,” (Anthro 138A)
- “Contemporary Chinese Society.” (Anthro 138B)
- “China Through Film (Anthro 177)