Tuesday, November 8, 2016

[HKAS seminar] To Cry or Not to Cry: Grieving Tears in Contemporary Shanghai Funerals

Title: To Cry or Not to Cry: Grieving Tears in Contemporary Shanghai Funerals
Speaker: Huwy-min Lucia Liu (Assistant Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
Date and time: 17 November 2016 (Thursday), 7:00 p.m.
Venue: Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, Hong Kong Museum of History, 100 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui


Anthropologists working on Chinese societies often treat tears of grief within the death ritual as only of minor importance if not outright irrelevant. One reason is because of the long-held importance of ritualized weeping. Out of this cultural mode, at their best, tears of grief in funerals are taken as just “empty” things that have no meaning beyond the following of convention to show filial piety. At their worst, they are taken as signs of “feudalism.” In this talk, Ms. Liu will discuss how she studies grieving tears in contemporary Shanghai funerals. She will recount several “tearful” ethnographic stories, explain when and how people should cry or should not cry in contemporary Shanghai funerals, and what the consequences are when people follow different ways of regulating tears.

Huwy-min Lucia Liu is a cultural anthropologist working as an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her current research explores, both historically and ethnographically, changing modes of governance and subject formation in China through an in depth study of the Shanghai funeral industry in the 20th and 21st centuries.

All are welcome! (Space, however, is limited to 139 seats) 

Following the talk, you are invited to a self-paying dinner with the speaker. For more information, please contact Stan Dyer on 9746 9537 or

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