Nearly seven million Yi people live in Southwest China, but most educated people outside China have never heard of them. This book, the first scholarly study in a Western language on the Yi in four decades, brings this little-known part of the world to life. Perspectives on the Yi of Southwest China is a remarkable collection of work by both Yi and foreign scholars describing their history, traditional society, and recent social changes.
In addition to being valuable as an ethnographic study, this book is also an experiment in communication among three discourses: the cosmopolitan disciplines of history and the social sciences, the Chinese discourse of ethnology and ethnohistory, and the Yi folk discourse of genealogy and ritual. This book uses the case of the Yi to conduct an international conversation across formerly isolated disciplines.