> Features > Special Coverage > Yi Culture and Yi Studies

The rise of Yi studies

By Pan Jiao | 2013-09-02 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
Non-material cultural heritage show held in Guizhou
A series of books edited by Liu Yaohan marks the emerging of Yi studies. The series collects nearly 20 books that have big influence in academia. Colleges and universities have set up departments and research centers of Yi studies and a great number of associations of Yi studies have also been established.
Yi study turns to interpret their beliefs and values
Since the rise of Yi studies, there has been a shift in the research direction. In the past, the alleged Yi studies are limited to the Yi in Liangshan and the research mainly focused on the use of instrument of production, input and output relations as well as the exploitation of the slaves, while barely any attention was paid to the Yi’s interpretation of society and life, their beliefs and their values, which, however, have become the focus of Yi studies. I would say it is the cultural turn in Yi studies.
Cultural consciousness continues creates new things
Through the rise and development of Yi studies, we can see the cultural consciousness of different ethnic groups as well as the government’s encouragement to foster ethnic culture. 
The cultural consciousness is something that is highlighted only when considered in relations with others. The cultural consciousness is not necessarily a result of its innate development. It constantly creates new things. The difference between people is more likely to be understood as cultural difference; the equal relation between people is based on the mutual respect and recognition of different cultures. Therefore the prosperity of Yi studies and the rise of it cultural consciousness is also an indication of the good ethnic relations in China.
Pan Jiao is from Central University for Nationalities
 (Translated by Jiang Hong)