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Zhao, Jianhua

Grant Type: 
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Insitutional Affiliation: 
Pittsburgh, U. of
Status: 
Completed Grant
Approve Date: 
December 9, 2003
Project Title: 
Zhao, Jianhua, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Fashioning Change: The Political Economy of Clothing in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable

JIANHUA ZHAO, then a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was awarded funding in December 2003 to aid research on 'Fashioning Change: The Political Economy of Clothing in Contemporary China,' supervised by Dr. Nicole Constable. This project combined interpretive anthropology and political economy to examine the changes in Chinese clothing fashions and their social and cultural meanings, and the influence of local and global processes on China's clothing and apparel industry since the post-Mao economic reforms began in 1978. During the field research, the researcher gathered historical data in order to show the changes in clothing fashions and China's textile and apparel industries. By working with fashion professionals, including designers, executives, and journalists, the researcher also collected ethnographic data to illustrate the relationship between clothing and the state in China, to explicate how the Chinese clothing system works as a cultural system, and to elucidate the interconnectedness between the global and local processes in the production and consumption of clothing and fashion. This study contributes to an ethnographic understanding of clothing, to the study of the social and cultural impact of the economic reforms in post-Mao China, to the wider study of post-socialist societies in which the reconfiguration of the state and society articulates in the production and consumption of fashion and clothing, and to the anthropological critiques of 'globalization' as a simple and unidirectional economic process of 'westernization,' cultural imperialism, or cultural homogenization.