Global Urban Research Unit


Han Identities

Dr Andrew Law was awarded funding from the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants - SRG 2014 Round - and the Sino-British Fellowship Trust to conduct research on Han Identities and the Hanfu Movement in Contemporary China. 

The project unpacks the rise of more monolithic Han identities that have been taken up by young Chinese people. Drawing upon fieldwork contacts made by the researcher in Beijing, Wuhan, and Xi'an, in 2013, this project will involve extensive ethnographic research into the Hanfu movement. The Hanfu movement is composed of young people who regularly wear traditional Chinese clothes reminiscent of clothing before the Qing period in 1644.

The research investigates the symbolic meanings young people ascribe to Hanfu clothing and the practices they engage in (such as archery, traditional rituals etc). Moreover, the research investigates the role of heritage landscapes (such as Qin/Han/Tang temples/heritage parks) in the construction of Hanfu identities and practices. Research into the Hanfu movement is crucial if we are to understand how exclusive Han identities, racisms and ethnocentrisms are reproduced in modern China. 

Dr Law has been involved in a series of engagement roles including talks given to the HSBC-BRITISH COUNCIL Mandarin Chinese speaking competition hosted by routes into Languages North East, Newcastle University (A talk for young people aged between the ages of 11-18) and the School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University – for Simultaneous interpreting practice. As well as more engagement with young people interested in learning about Chinese culture (and Mandarin), Dr Law will begin to develop his ethnography in the Summer of  2015. The project continued until August, 2016.