© 2010

Taiwanese Pilgrimage to China

Ritual, Complicity, Community

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-21
    2. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 23-46
    3. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 47-80
  3. Vignette

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 81-84
    2. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 85-113
    3. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 115-141
  4. Interlude

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-149
    2. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 151-181
    3. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 183-211
    4. DJ W. Hatfield
      Pages 213-241
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 243-275

About this book


This book examines the pilgrimages to China from Taiwan in the late 1980s and early 1990s and offers a wide-ranging account of urban planning statements, arguments about ritual propriety, and the material culture of pilgrimage. Taiwanese Pilgrimage to China argues that as Taiwanese pilgrims and their Chinese hosts translated values produced in ritual contexts into the terms of economic and political reform, they became complicit in a shared project of composing historical truth. With its attention to pilgrimages at a possible center of geopolitical conflict, Taiwanese Pilgrimage to China provides an account of how shared frameworks for action grow and advances anthropological understandings of conflict resolution.


China community conflict conflict resolution ritual

About the authors

D.J. HATFIELD is Associate in Research at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Study at Harvard University, USA.

Bibliographic information


"Taiwanese Pilgrimage in China is symphonic. Its prevailing topic is that of cultural invention. Its leitmotif and the complex phenomenon whose historical ontology it pursues is minjian xinyang - popular belief. Its variations circle around a thematic of complicity that encompasses Taiwanese pilgrims and their hosts on the mainland; folkloric societies and tourists; historians and intellectuals; and, not least, the ethnographer and his interlocutors, consultants, patrons and clients. Hatfield is a virtuoso of his materials. He is erudite and always acute. He is also discerning enough to recognize that cultural invention never unfolds in the theoretical mid-air of one or another rational actor's strategic calculus. The subjects of Taiwanese Pilgrimage - the subject of the ethnographer included - instead emerge, find their feet and sometimes also lose them within a field of forces that is at once generative and constrictive of the very subjects they might and can be. Their task is that of sustaining an ethics of deferral that can busy itself with the codification and consolidation of popular belief and the cross-strait relations that it consecrates only if it leaves scrupulously to one side such spectral and spectrally political questions as the question of the unification of Taiwan with the mainland. The task isn't always easy, but Hatfield's engagement with it demonstrates the analytical bounty of keeping always in mind that our lives do not always repeat themselves, that they often face problems not of their own devising, and that the reflexive turn is thus neither a sure sign of self-absorption nor a move confined to the ethnographer alone. The result belongs squarely to the anthropological vanguard. It's a must-read." - James D. Faubion, Professor of Anthropology, Rice University and author of Shadows and Lights of Waco: Millennialism Today