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Eating Spring Rice

The Cultural Politics of AIDS in Southwest China

Sandra Teresa Hyde (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 290 pages
ISBN: 9780520247154
January 2007
$34.95, £28.00
Other Formats Available:
Eating Spring Rice is the first major ethnographic study of HIV/AIDS in China. Drawing on more than a decade of ethnographic research (1995-2005), primarily in Yunnan Province, Sandra Teresa Hyde chronicles the rise of the HIV epidemic from the years prior to the Chinese government's acknowledgement of this public health crisis to post-reform thinking about infectious-disease management. Hyde combines innovative public health research with in-depth ethnography on the ways minorities and sex workers were marked as the principle carriers of HIV, often despite evidence to the contrary.

Hyde approaches HIV/AIDS as a study of the conceptualization and the circulation of a disease across boundaries that requires different kinds of anthropological thinking and methods. She focuses on "everyday AIDS practices" to examine the links between the material and the discursive representations of HIV/AIDS. This book illustrates how representatives of the Chinese government singled out a former kingdom of Thailand, Sipsongpanna, and its indigenous ethnic group, the Tai-Lüe, as carriers of HIV due to a history of prejudice and stigma, and to the geography of the borderlands. Hyde poses questions about the cultural politics of epidemics, state-society relations, Han and non-Han ethnic dynamics, and the rise of an AIDS public health bureaucracy in the post-reform era.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Notes on Transliteration

Introduction: The Cultural Politics of AIDS in Postreform China

1 The Aesthetics of Statistics
2 Everyday AIDS Practices: Risky Bodies and Contested Borders

3 Sex Tourism and Performing Ethnicity in Jinghong
4 Eating Spring Rice: Transactional Sex in a Beauty Salon
5 A Sexual Hydraulic: Commercial “Sex Workers” and Condoms
6 Moral Economies of Sexuality

Epilogue: What Is to Be Done?
Sandra Teresa Hyde is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University.
“The first major ethnographic study in the English language of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the People’s Republic of China. . . . A truly remarkable book.”—The Lancet
“Makes a significant contribution to the field of study by weaving a rich ethnography into insightful theoretical discussions, combining medical anthropology with public health.”—China Information
"This book is a fabulous read—ethnographically rich, theoretically engaged, and emotionally and intellectually captivating. The first major ethnographic study of its kind, the text is very clearly written and accessible. Hyde does a majestic job of drawing the reader into the places and practices described, bringing to stunning life the politics of AIDS on a border region."—Ralph Litzinger, author of Other Chinas: The Yao and the Politics of National Belonging

"Eating Spring Rice is a poignant analysis and welcomed contribution to both China Studies and to the analysis of public health in the context of the evolution of an AIDS epidemic. As a public health practitioner and anthropologist, Sandra Hyde has a keen eye and makes a compelling case for what might be done to improve the health of individuals. Hyde shows how the particular modes that social liberalization takes in China will have unforseeable consequences, offering a vivid picture that requires us to rethink public health and epidemics in radically new ways."—Cindy Patton, author of Globalizing AIDS

"Sandra Hyde brings the fruits of a decade of intensive engagement in China's Yunnan province to this beautifully crafted account of the everyday practices by which AIDS and its social imaginary remake ethnicity, region, gender, and governance. Bridging medical anthropology and public health, and debates on the organization of sex work and on the Chinese politics of race and place, Eating Spring Rice should be required reading for anyone who would address the impact of emergent plague measures (SARS, avian flu) in China or elsewhere"—Lawrence Cohen, author of No Aging in India: Alzheimer's, The Bad Family, and Other Modern Things

"Sandra Hyde's analysis of gender, class, language, and cultural politics is as trenchant as her challenge to China-centrism is timely. A remarkable critical accomplishment."—Rey Chow, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Brown University

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