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Sacred and contested landscapes : dynamics of natural resource management by Akha People In Xishuangbanna, Southwest China

Author: Jianhua Wang
Publisher: [Riverside, California] : University of California, Riverside, 2013. © 2013
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of California, Riverside, 2013.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Summary:
Through careful analyses of rich oral texts of their migratory history, genealogies and rituals, as well as using historical records in Chinese, archaeological evidence, and ethnographic data, this study traces the history of Akha people, a Tibeto-Burman speaking group in Zomia, back to their original homeland Tmqlanr where their ancestors were hunter-gathers. The author hypothesizes the Tmqlanr refers to Tianchi  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Dissertations, Academic
Academic theses
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jianhua Wang
ISBN: 9781303507489 130350748X
OCLC Number: 868689087
Notes: Includes abstract.
Title from first page of PDF file (viewed January 21, 2014).
Description: 1 online resource (336 pages) : illustrations
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other Titles: Dynamics of natural resource management by Akha People In Xishuangbanna, Southwest China
Responsibility: by Jianhua Wang.

Abstract:

Through careful analyses of rich oral texts of their migratory history, genealogies and rituals, as well as using historical records in Chinese, archaeological evidence, and ethnographic data, this study traces the history of Akha people, a Tibeto-Burman speaking group in Zomia, back to their original homeland Tmqlanr where their ancestors were hunter-gathers. The author hypothesizes the Tmqlanr refers to Tianchi (Sky Lake) in Tianshan or Sky Mountain, northwest China. The author argues that their animist belief and community-of-beings worldview were well developed when they were hunter-gathers. A huge wild fire forced the ancestors of the Akha to leave their original homeland and started their millennia long southward migration. It is evident that the Akha ancestors became agriculturalists and were involved in building several ancient Tibeto-Burman states and contributed to several ancient civilizations in Southwest China and eventually established their own state Jadae , centered in Yuanjiang valley of the Red River, roughly in AD1054 through AD1274 when it was conquered by the Mongol Empire of the Yuan Dynasty. The author argues that the Akha identity was formed in the process of building, defending and losing the Jadae State. Rice cultivation in irrigated paddy fields was the economic basis of the Jadae State. Collapse of the Jadae State forced the Akha people to migrate further southward; they became one of the biggest shifting cultivating groups in highlands of Zomia, where they still reproduced sacred landscapes according to the worldview developed by their hunting-gathering ancestors and managed their natural resources through a holistic body of customary law Ghanrsanrkhovq standardized in the Jadae State. As the Akha were integrated into modern nation-states in this region, their sacred landscapes were confronted by the state landscapes of productivity and control. The Akha have not only become successful entrepreneurs who developed tea and/or rubber plantations in the process of adapting to the contested landscapes in China, but also have coped with the challenges imposed by the state through reinterpretation of their ancient animist beliefs and community-of-being worldview. Drawing on lessons learned from the case study of the Akha, issues of sustainable development are discussed at the end.

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