Featured Global Scholar: Yidou Tang

Global Scholars Program

HRAF Global Scholar: Yidou Tang
Title: Doctoral student
University Affiliation: Renmin University of China
Research Topic: Anthropology of education

Yidou Tang is a doctoral student in anthropology at Renmin University of China with a focus on the anthropology of education. Her doctoral research is being conducted at a secondary vocational school in Sichuan Province. Yidou chose a vocational-technical school with a substantial proportion of minority teenagers as her fieldwork site. From an anthropological perspective, Yidou tries to understand how cultural differences affect the vocational education experience for minority teenagers.

Yidou Tang photo

Yidou Tang photo

Yidou has developed a hypothesis that three elements make these minority teenagers strong candidates for apprenticeship during technical training: 1) the ethnic educational tradition of paying more attention to recitation and hands-on skill practice, rather than writing or arithmetic, 2) a large size of the peer group bound by a tight geographical relationship, and 3) the special respect accorded to one’s elders.

Yidou explains how useful eHRAF access has been to her ongoing research:

eHRAF is a great database for me because I am off campus doing field research this year. It has become my online library and a convenient bibliographic index. The first part of my dissertation contains a background introduction of ethnic education, where I use historical documents found through eHRAF. In addition, I often search at random and read about vocational education in different countries, which has inspired my thinking. In my opinion, the essence of anthropology should be cross-cultural comparison of multiple places and nationalities. eHRAF can greatly broaden the horizons of an anthropologist, and help build a global context to present research in an interdisciplinary, holistic way. I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to utilize these academic resources.

During her doctoral program, Yidou plans to complete an ethnographic study on China’s secondary education reform. Chinese middle schools have been phasing out fixed classes in recent years, allowing students to choose the subsidiary subjects that they want to take for the college entrance exam, and then attend the class of their choices. This is called  “Shifting-class Reform” and it represents a major cultural change. Yidou believes that reform measures will have a strong impact on Chinese educational culture. For example, when the boundaries of classes become more blurred, the moral experience of middle school students will be very different from before.

Through this study, Yidou hopes to build on the work of Professor Yunxiang Yan and Professor Xiaotong Fei, and to make an original contribution to the analysis of China’s cultural transformation. Because ideas in China’s shifting-class system are borrowed from European and American countries, school systems in other countries and regions should be presented and compared with the cultural changes in China.

HRAF is honored to welcome Yidou Tang as one of our HRAF Global Scholars for 2022. We wish her continued success with her research.

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