Yunxiang Yan Wins Guggenheim Fellowship
Yunxiang Yan, Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, is among 180 artists, scholars and scientists (including four from UCLA) chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants to receive 2010 Guggenheim Fellowships.
Selected on the basis of "achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment," each fellow receives a grant to support his or her work. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has distributed more than $281 million to more than 16,900 individuals since its establishment in 1925.
Yan will use the fellowship to write a book on the vast changes in Chinese culture since 1978, when the country opened to the West. Based on close to a decade's worth of field research in China, the book will explore the shift from a collective morality of responsibility and self-sacrifice to an individualistic morality of rights and self-realization.
Topics to be explored include the rise of premarital cohabitation, divorce, gay rights, volunteerism and environmentalism. Yan will also probe the role of China's changing moral landscape in recent food-safety crises. Yan, who was born Beijing and spent twelve years living and working as a peasant in Shandong and Heilongjiang, is considered one of the world's leading authorities on cultural change in contemporary China.
Among Professor Yan’s publications is Private Life Under Socialism: Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village, 1949-1999 (Stanford Univ. Press, 2003), which in 2005 won the Association for Asian Studies’ Joseph Levenson Prize for the Best Book on Post-1900 China. Elizabeth Perry, chair of the Levenson Prize committee, in presenting the prize to Yan, noted that the book is “An outstanding rural ethnography, … explor[ing] a subject barely touched by previous scholarship: the personal and emotional dimensions of family life among Chinese villagers. The research is exceptionally thorough, the analysis is highly illuminating, and the presentation is direct, sensitive and moving.”
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The four scholars from UCLA join a prestigious group of Guggenheim fellows from all sectors of the arts and sciences, including Ansel Adams, W.H. Auden, Aaron Copland, Martha Graham, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Isamu Noguchi, Linus Pauling, Philip Roth, Paul Samuelson, Wendy Wasserstein, Derek Walcott, James Watson, and Eudora Welty.
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The Individualization of Chinese Society (London: Berg Publishers, 2003) -- publisher’s webpage
Report on the Malinowski Memorial Lecture, delivered by Professor Yan in 2003
“Why China’s Young Are So Selfish and Proud,” an editorial in The Independent (June 3, 2003), based on Yan’s Malinowski Memorial Lecture:
Pages from The Flow of Gifts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village (Stanford Univ. Press, 1996)
Up to the Mountain, Down to the Village, a documentary (2005) chronicling the life during the Cultural Revolution of Yunxiang Yan and two other "sent-down" youth — now U.S. citizens — who returned to the remote villages where they had been sent three decades ago.
Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2010