Tamara Jacka

Tamara Jacka is an Emeritus Professor in the College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University. A feminist social anthropologist, her main research interests are in gender, rural–urban migration and social change in contemporary China. She is the author of Rural Women in Urban China: Gender, Migration, and Social Change (2006), which won the Francis L.K. Hsu prize for best book in East Asian Anthropology. More recent publications include Women, Gender and Rural Development in China (co‑edited with Sally Sargeson, 2011) and Contemporary China: Society and Social Change (co-authored with Andrew B. Kipnis and Sally Sargeson, 2013). 

orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5395-5009

Ginkgo Village »

Trauma and Transformation in Rural China

Authored by: Tamara Jacka
Publication date: June 2024
Ginkgo Village provides an original and powerfully intimate bottom-up perspective on China’s recent tumultuous history. Drawing on ethnographic and life-history research, the book takes readers deep into a village in a mountainous region of central-eastern China known as Eyuwan. In the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, villagers in this region experienced terrible trauma and far-reaching socio‑economic and political change. In the civil war (1927–1949), they were slaughtered in fighting between Nationalist and Communist forces. During the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961), they suffered appalling famine. Since the 1990s, mass labour outmigration has lifted local villagers out of poverty and fuelled major transformations in their circumstances and practices, social and family relationships, and values and aspirations. At the heart of this book are eight tales that recreate Ginkgo Village life and the interactions between villagers and the researchers who visit them. These tales use storytelling to engender an empathetic understanding of Ginkgo Villagers’ often traumatic life experiences; to present concrete details about transformations in everyday village life in an engaging manner; and to explore the challenges and rewards of fieldwork research that attempts empathetic understanding across cultures.