Tami Blumenfield is an anthropologist of China with research interests on participatory media production, tourism, resilience, and the emergence of inequality. Her primary field site is in Southwest China where the Na and Nuosu people live in an ethnically diverse zone. Dr. Blumenfield is the co-editor, with Helaine Silverman, of Cultural Heritage Politics in China. She is also producing a film, Some Na Ceremonies, that showcases filming and directorial work of her Na collaborators, Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji.

At Furman University, Dr. Blumenfield is the James B. Duke Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and teaches courses on the Anthropology of China, Cultural Anthropology, gender, and media. She is also Affiliate Faculty with the Shi Center for Sustainability.

Experience in Asia

Dr. Blumenfield first traveled to China as a college sophomore, enrolling at Yunnan University as a student of the Chinese language. While there she was recruited to act in the Yunnan Minority Film Studio feature film, Garden of Happiness (Xinfu Huayuan). Spending three weeks on location in the mountains of northwest Yunnan with a Chinese crew boosted her Chinese speaking abilities and planted a fascination with representation, media production, and ethnicity that inspired a senior thesis topic, a postbaccalaureate Fulbright grant, and eventually a doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington.

In addition to several years and many summers in the People's Republic of China spent studying, researching, working on films and leading student tours, Dr. Blumenfield has explored Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Name Title Description


Cultural Anthropology

Introduction to social and cultural anthropology. Topics include the comparative study of subsistence regimes and economics, stratification and political organization, marriage and kinship, culture and personality, religion, and social and cultural change.


Gender in East Asia

An examination of gender in East Asia from an anthropological perspective. It establishes broad frameworks for analyzing sexuality and gender in Asia and encourages close readings of individuals' life experiences. Past scholarly engagements with gendered Asia and ongoing Orientalist interpretations will be discussed. Specific topics may include gender-based discrimination, activism, kinship systems, regional variations in approaches to sexual orientation, migration, and sex work. Students will analyze media to examine how representations of gender in East Asia are produced. 4 credits.


Anthropology of China

Key concepts and major historical developments within anthropological frameworks in twentieth-century China including ethnographic studies of social change and everyday life during the Mao and Post-Mao eras. Topics examined include nation-building, capitalist development, gender, class, ethnicity, mobility, education and labor.


Media in Asia

Media, primarily from and about South Korea, Japan, China, and India, is used to examine globalizing and local images, texts and sounds including the examination of news media coverage, flows of media forms like Japanese manga and Hong Kong martial arts, and interpretations of Asian media forms in the United States and throughout the world.Students will learn how to interpret and analyzevisual images.

  • Humanities Development Fund Course Development Grant, Furman University, 2013;
  • American Association of University Women Summer/Short-Term Publication Fellowship, 2012-13;
  • Association of Asian Studies, China and Inner Asia Council Research Grant, "Projecting Na Voices: Developing a Curricular DVD," 2011;
  • Academic Innovation Mini-Grant for Hybrid Course Design, Portland State University, 2011;
  • Fritz Fellowship from the Jackson Foundation for Chinese Studies for Dissertation Research in Southwest China, 2005-2006;
  • Fulbright Research Grant, "Moso Education and Identity: Effects of Contemporary Schooling on Transmitting Tradition," Yunnan Province, China, 2001-02.

Dr. Blumenfield is also a founding board member of the Cool Mountain Education Fund.

Books, Articles and Reviews

  • 2013. Blumenfield, Tami and Helaine Silverman, eds. Cultural Heritage Politics in China. New York: Springer;
  • 2013. Silverman, Helaine and Tami Blumenfield. "Cultural Heritage Politics in China: An Introduction." Cultural Heritage Politics in China, Tami Blumenfield, and Helaine Silverman, eds. New York: Springer;
  • 2012. Blumenfield, Tami and Maresi Nerad. Developing a Research Agenda for Assessing International (Post)graduate Education and Collaboration. Australian Universities Review 54(1). Special issue on doctoral education, Anita Devos and Catherine Manathunga, guest eds.;
  • 2011a. Culinary Controversies: Shark Fin Soup and Sea Creatures in the Asian Studies Curriculum. Education about Asia 16(3) theme issue, Food, Culture, and Asia;
  • 2011b (June 2). Chinese Tour Groups in Europe, Chinese Tour Groups in Yunnan: Narrating a Nation in the World. The China Beat: Blogging How the East is Read;
  • 2011c. Film Review: The Fall of Womenland (Xiaodan He, 2009). News and Reviews: Edu cating About Asia Through Film 41 (Summer 2011). Asian Educational Media Service;
  • 2010a. Scenes from Yongning: Media Creation in China's Na Villages. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington;
  • 2010b. Review of Terence Wesley-Smith & Jon Goss, eds. (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010), Remaking Area Studies: Teaching and Learning across Asia and the Pacific. Asia Pacific World 1(2);
  • 2008. Anthropologists in Motion. Anthropology News 49 (1): 18-19.;
  • 2004a. "女儿国, 你将何去何从?——从教育、旅游角度看待摩梭文化的发展 (Contemporary Moso Adaptations to Mainstream Culture: Examining the Influence of Education and Tourism)." In Zhang Xisheng, ed. 市场经济与民族法制, Market ! Economy and Legal System on Minority Nationalities—Research Reports from Yunnan Province, P.R.China. Pp. 315-326. Kunming: Yunnan University Press;
  • 2004b. "Walking Marriages." Anthropology News 45 (5): 15.;
  • 2003b. "Na Education in the Face of Modernity." In Landscapes of Diversity: Indigenous Knowledge, Sustainable Livelihoods and Resource Governance in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia. Xu Jianchu and Stephen Mikesell, eds. Pp. 487-494. Kunming: Yunnan Science and Technology Press.

Film and Television Production

  • 2011. Some Na Ceremonies (trailer). A film by Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji. Produced by Tami Blumenfield.;
  • 2008. Illuminations at Lugu Lake: The First Moso Film Festival. A film by Onci Archei, Ruheng Duoji, Feng Weiyang, and Tami Blumenfield.;
  • 2004. "Taboo 2: Blood Bonds." National Geographic Television. John Mernit, Series Producer. David Shadrack Smith, Producer. Tami Blumenfield, Field Associate Producer, China segment.
University of Washington, 2010
University of Washington, 2006
Oberlin College, 2000

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