The Saga of Anthropology in China: From Malinowski to Moscow to Mao

By Gregory Eliyu Guldin | Go to book overview

Focus 1:

Long Live Liang Zhaotao!

The central reception area is crowded with faculty and staff as well as both present and former students. On one side of the U-shaped space formed by the reception area's sofas and chairs sits the honoree, Professor Liang Zhaotao, founder of the department that is now honoring him on his seventieth birthday. Before a large and brightly painted black-on-red banner emblazoned with the character "shou" (longevity), the Anthropology Department's Communist Party secretary rises to greet the 100-plus people who have gathered for the occasion. The Party secretary lists Liang's lifetime accomplishments: establishing the department, discovering the skull of prehistoric Maba Man, and training generations of anthropology, ethnology, and archaeology students. The university Party secretary, rising from the center section, conveys the congratulations of the Communist Party's University Committee to Professor Liang, and asks the university's president if he wishes to speak; he declines, indicating his concurrence with the previous remarks.

Linguistics Professor Zhuang Yiqun, acting as master of ceremonies, then invites me, a visiting professor in the department for the year, to speak. I had been forewarned by Professor Zhuang, so my remarks are ready as I dutifully rise to praise Professor Liang for his single-minded dedication to the resuscitation of his discipline and to inform my listeners of the growing awareness abroad of Professor Liang's accomplishments. Now, finally, Professor Liang himself rises to speak.

First in a low voice, and then more animatedly, Liang Zhaotao conveys his vision of Chinese anthropology. He discusses the connections between ethnology

-3-

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