Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding in Times of Crisis : A Case Study of the Chinese Ethnic Qiang's "Cultural Reconstruction" after the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake

Qiaoyun ZHANG
This article discusses if and how intangible cultural heritage (ICH) safeguarding is an effective means to recover local cultures after a major disaster by considering an example from China, a forceful newcomer in the recent global ICH safeguarding campaign. After the severe Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the Chinese state initiated "cultural reconstruction" projects to rescue, restore, and recover the affected ethnic-minority Qiang cultures, for which the inscription, safeguarding, and promotion
more » ... of Qiang ICH became major means. This article analyzes how state agencies and selected groups of scholars led and monitored the Qiang ICH safeguarding process and also how the knowledge of the newly heritagized cultural practices was produced. Informed by long-term fieldwork in the affected Qiang villages, the article critiques the complex impacts of the emergent, top-down, and yet problematic ICH safeguarding planning on the survival and sustainability of the noted cultural practices as well as the Qiang communities.
doi:10.15119/00003125 fatcat:yolfagimwjdolbbvfjirnwj64u