The discipline of folkloristics in the People’s Republic of China is robust and well-funded. With thousands of scholars across the country, it is surprising then that there is relatively little understanding of the research and contributions of Chinese folklorists to the discipline. This despite the fact that Chinese folklorists are well-acquainted with many of the latest advances in folkloristics research globally. As the first English language attempt to discuss the historical development, current situation, and theoretical contributions of Chinese Folklore studies to the discipline of folklore more broadly, Chinese Folklore Studies Today: Discourse and Practice
(Indiana University Press, 2020), edited by Lijun Zhang and Ziying You, attempts to rectify this situation. The volume’s five essays point out different issues relevant to folklore studies, including urban folklore studies, studies of women’s folklore, folksong, myth and belief, and intangible cultural heritage. This unique contribution not only introduces folklore of China, but also will certainly prove vital in encouraging and framing future international collaborations.
Timothy Thurston is Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds. His research examines language at the nexus of tradition and modernity in China’s Tibet.