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gDdol-pa - "Slayers of Fish". Everyday Life, Technical Knowledge and Material Culture of Fishermen in Buddhist Tibet

Fishes as an auspicious symbol. In: BEER, Robert: The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs. London, 1999.

Ph.D thesis of Diana Altner

The focal points of the research of Diana Altner will be an analysis of the social position of fishermen in traditional and modern Tibetan society, an extensive study of the everyday life and the material culture of the Tibetan fishermen as well as the meaning of fish for the Tibetans in religious and mythological contexts. A main focus will be the theoretical and practical compatibility of killing and eating fish under the restrictions of a strict buddhist taboo of killing creatures.

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Wooden Kang and Bamboo Floggings: History and Anthropology of Punishment and their Meaning for Everyday Life in Late Imperial China

Research project of Dagmar Borchard

Former studies on penal law and on the history of punishment in late imperial times had to focus on analysing the legal sections of the dynastic histories, the law codices of the Ming and Qing dynasties and some compendia of actual criminal law cases. Only very recently, important legal case records have become available to Western researchers. They may answer the question of how the codified law actually worked in practice. In her study Dagmar Borchard will analyse various punishments like the wooden kang, floggings, death penalty (by strangulation, decapitation or slicing), tattooing of criminals, torture during interrogation, the meaning of a confession in the Chinese criminal procedure law. Important reference materials are new findings in the fields of historical anthropology and history of law concerning the role of punishment and the history of the death penalty in the Middle Ages and in early modern Europe and North America.

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The Germans and their Families in Tientsin, North China: 1860-1918

Research project of Chou Ching-yuan

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Mountaineering in Taiwan. Social Organization, Material and Everyday Culture in the Liminal Experience of Going into the Mountains on the example of Cheng Kung University Mountaineering Association

M.A. thesis of Katja Eichhorn

Mountaineering in Taiwan is getting more and more popular, as well as other outdoor adventure sports. The islanders join in trekking clubs in order to venture to the mountainous regions. Participation in a club and the social connections which result from it have influence on the life of an individual not only at the time of his active participation but also after graduating from university. Katja EICHHORN analyzes how through club life acquired social competences form socialization of the Taiwanese educational elite.

The investigation is focusing on the functioning of a Taiwanese sport club, especially a mountaineering association at a university. There are three major points: first, the structure of the club with its organizational structures, hierarchies and the exchange between them. Second, the interaction and communication between club members in official, hike-preparing and private respects. The third point concerns material and everyday culture, which is important to survive during a hike.

Taiji, Ticao and Tango. Everyday Techniques of the Body in Urban China


Ph.D. thesis of Kathrin Hirth

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History of Transportation in Ming- and Qing-China

Research project of Nan-tsung Anna (Nanny) Kim

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A Cultural History of the Sewing Machine in Taiwan

Research project of Uta Werlich

The sewing machine is one of the most important technical achievements that changed the lives and work of women in an extraordinary way. As a mechanical device for the manufacturing of seams the sewing machine replaced the time-consuming and often cost-intensive sewing by hand and became an important means of production used by industry, workshops, and private housholds.

Since the late 1800s numerous inventions and patents have contributed to the construction of a functional sewing machine. The following rapid development of the sewing machine as well as the economic and social changes that went hand in hand with the invention‘s success have been documented extensively for Europe and the United States (BRANDON 1996; BURMAN 1999; Cooper 1968; Godfrey 1982 or Hausen 1978). On the other hand, it has been rarely discussed which effects the distribution of the sewing machine has had in other regions of the world. When and how did the first sewing machines come, for example, to Taiwan, where the garment industry flourished especially in the 1950s and 60s? How did this influence local sewing tradition? In which way has the manufacturing of clothes and clothing items been industrialized, and by which means has the sewing machine been integrated into private housholds?

In her research project on the cultural history of the sewing machine in Taiwan Uta Werlich will deal with the regional history of the introduction and the distribution of the sewing machine in Taiwan and its significance as an industrial- and a houshold item. She will discuss Chinese sewing traditions from a technical and socio-cultural perspective. She will ask about changes in long established methods of homesewing and female sewing in particular and, last but not least, she will put forward the question on how changes within Taiwanese society have influenced the significance of the sewing machine in Taiwan.

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Everyday Life of Chinese Miners

Collection of materials by Wang Qing

The aim of this collection of research materials is the compilation of Chinese and Western information on different aspects of the everyday life and the material culture of miners in China. The focus of the compilation will be main topics like working life, life at home, religion, popular customs, popular beliefs.

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