Tami Blumenfield is an anthropologist of China with research interests on participatory media production, tourism, gender, resilience, and the emergence of inequality. Her primary field site is in Southwest China where the Na and Nuosu people live in an ethnically diverse zone. Dr. Blumenfield co-edited Cultural Heritage Politics in China with Helaine Silverman and co-edited Doing Fieldwork in China...With Kids! with Candice Cornet. She produced a film, Some Na Ceremonies​, that showcases filming and directorial work of her Na collaborators, Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji. Dr. Blumenfield's current research is supported by the Fulbright Program and the United States National Science Foundation. She has participated in two workshops at the National Science Foundation headquarters aimed at assessing international research experiences.

Dr. Blumenfield teaches courses on China and Asia, with a special focus on gender and media; and on cultural anthropology, including visual anthropology. She is affiliated with the Anthropology Program, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, the Film Studies Interdisciplinary Minor, and the Shi Center for Sustainability.

Dr. Blumenfield is a founding board member and vice-president of the Cool Mountain Education Fund.​

Experience in Asia

Dr. Blumenfield first traveled to China as a college sophomore, enrolling at Yunnan University as a student of the Chinese language. While there she was recruited to act in the Yunnan Minority Film Studio feature film, Garden of Happiness (Xinfu Huayuan). Spending three weeks on location in the mountains of northwest Yunnan with a Chinese crew boosted her Chinese speaking abilities and planted a fascination with representation, media production, and ethnicity that inspired a senior thesis topic, a postbaccalaureate Fulbright grant, and eventually a doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington.

In addition to several years and many summers in the People's Republic of China spent studying, researching, working on films and leading student tours, Dr. Blumenfield has explored Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong. ​​​

Name Title Description


Cultural Anthropology

Introduction to social and cultural anthropology. Topics include the comparative study of subsistence regimes and economics, stratification and political organization, marriage and kinship, culture and personality, religion, and social and cultural change.


Gender in East Asia

An examination of gender in East Asia from an anthropological perspective. It establishes broad frameworks for analyzing sexuality and gender in Asia and encourages close readings of individuals' life experiences. Past scholarly engagements with gendered Asia and ongoing Orientalist interpretations will be discussed. Specific topics may include gender-based discrimination, activism, kinship systems, regional variations in approaches to sexual orientation, migration, and sex work. Students will analyze media to examine how representations of gender in East Asia are produced.


Anthropology of China

Key concepts and major historical developments within anthropological frameworks in twentieth-century China including ethnographic studies of social change and everyday life during the Mao and Post-Mao eras. Topics examined include nation-building, capitalist development, gender, class, ethnicity, mobility, education and labor.


Visual Anthropology

Theories and methods of visual anthropology considering problems of representation and efforts by ethnographic filmmakers, photographers, and museum exhibit designers to address these problems. Questions of ethics, power and authority examined while exploring media from many parts of the world.


Practicing Anthropology

Exploration and application of ethnographic research strategies through research projects and exercises.


Media in Asia

Media, primarily from and about South Korea, Japan, China, and India, is used to examine globalizing and local images, texts and sounds including the examination of news media coverage, flows of media forms like Japanese manga and Hong Kong martial arts, and interpretations of Asian media forms in the United States and throughout the world.Students will learn how to interpret and analyzevisual images.



The course allows majors to investigate Asia" as a conceptual and geopolitical space and to critically investigate the discipline. Preparation for upper-level courses across the geographic and disciplinary distributions."


Chinese Studies Thesis

Guided research, translation, and writing on a topic in a field of Chinese Studies in which the student has had previous course work. The student will propose a thesis project to a faculty member in the field of Chinese Studies who by approving it becomes the thesis advisor.


Debunking Myths of China

Though Americans from all walks of life are increasingly aware of China's economic, military, and political rise, myths and misperceptions of the People's Republic of China abound. Policy makers, the business community, academics, reporters, and the general public all contribute to American images of China. While some herald the dynamic liberalizing reforms occurring within the country, others denounce the Chinese leadership as fascists" interested only in power and oppression. How are American images of China shaped

pedagogy Grants


  • The Duke Endowment Food Systems and Farming Initiative Grant, “Farming and Food Systems Transitions in Southwest China and Upstate South Carolina: Fostering a Multimedia-Enhanced Dialogue,” with Dr. Brandon Inabinet. Furman University, 2014-15. Student participants: Pengfei Wang, Wenhui Qiu, and Amanda Richey.
  • Associated Colleges of the South Undergraduate Research Grant for Farming and Food Systems Transitions in Southwest China and Upstate South Carolina: Fostering a Multimedia-Enhanced Dialogue,” with Dr. Brandon Inabinet, 2015. Student participants: Pengfei Wang, Wenhui Qiu, and Amanda Richey.
  • Shi Center Mellon Faculty Sustainability Research Fellowship and Research and Professional Growth Grant, Furman University, awarded for research on resilience in mountainous Southwest China, 2013.
  • American Association of University Women Summer/Short-Term Publication Fellowship, 2012-13.
  • Association of Asian Studies, China and Inner Asia Council Research Grant, "Projecting Na Voices: Developing a Curricular DVD," 2011.
  • Fritz Fellowship from the Jackson Foundation for Chinese Studies for Dissertation Research in Southwest China, 2005-2006.
  • Fulbright Research Grant, "Moso Education and Identity: Effects of Contemporary Schooling on Transmitting Tradition," Yunnan Province, China, 2001-02.

Books and Articles

  • 2016. Candice Cornet and Tami Blumenfield, eds. Doing Fieldwork in China...With Kids! The Dynamics of Accompanies Fieldwork in the People's Republic. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.

  • 2014. Blumenfield, Tami. Resilience in Mountainous Southwest China: Adopting a Socio-Ecological Approach to Community Change. Special issue of Cahiers d’Extrême Asie 23, Des mondes en devenir: Interethnicité et production du sens en Chine du Sud-Ouest. Worlds in the making: Interethnicity and the processes of generating meaning in Southwestern China. Stéphane Gros, ed.

  • 2014. Mattison, Siobhan, Brooke Scelza, and Tami Blumenfield. Paternal Investment and the Positive Effects of Fathers among the Matrilineal Mosuo (Na) of Southwest China. American Anthropologist 116(3): 591-610.

  • 2014. Blumenfield, Tami. Student-Directed Blended Learning with Facebook Groups and Streaming Media: Media in Asia at Furman UniversityTransformations, a publication of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education’s Academic Commons, June 25.

  • 2013. Blumenfield, Tami and Helaine Silverman, eds. Cultural Heritage Politics in China. New York: Springer.

  • 2013. Silverman, Helaine and Tami Blumenfield. "Cultural Heritage Politics in China: An Introduction." Cultural Heritage Politics in China, Tami Blumenfield, and Helaine Silverman, eds. New York: Springer.

  • 2012. Blumenfield, Tami and Maresi Nerad. Developing a Research Agenda for Assessing International (Post)graduate Education and Collaboration. Australian Universities Review 54(1). Special issue on doctoral education, Anita Devos and Catherine Manathunga, guest eds.

  • 2011a. Culinary Controversies: Shark Fin Soup and Sea Creatures in the Asian Studies Curriculum. Education about Asia 16(3) theme issue, Food, Culture, and Asia.

  • 2011b. Chinese Tour Groups in Europe, Chinese Tour Groups in Yunnan: Narrating a Nation in the World. The China Beat: Blogging How the East is Read.

  • 2010. Scenes from Yongning: Media Creation in China's Na Villages. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington.

  • 2008. Anthropologists in Motion. Anthropology News 49 (1): 18-19.

  • 2004a. "女儿国, 你将何去何从?——从教育、旅游角度看待摩梭文化的发展 (Contemporary Moso Adaptations to Mainstream Culture: Examining the Influence of Education and Tourism)." In Zhang Xisheng, ed. 市场经济与民族法制, Market Economy and Legal System on Minority Nationalities—Research Reports from Yunnan Province, P.R.China. Pp. 315-326. Kunming: Yunnan University Press.

  • 2004b. "Walking Marriages." Anthropology News 45 (5): 15.

  • 2003. "Na Education in the Face of Modernity." In Landscapes of Diversity: Indigenous Knowledge, Sustainable Livelihoods and Resource Governance in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia. Xu Jianchu and Stephen Mikesell, eds. Pp. 487-494. Kunming: Yunnan Science and Technology Press.

Film and Television Production

  • 2015. Some Na Ceremonies (trailer). A film by Onci Archei and Ruheng Duoji. Produced by Tami Blumenfield. Distributed by Berkeley Media.
  • 2014. Badzu Village. A film by Tami Blumenfield. Edited by Pengfei Wang and Wenhui Qiu.
  • 2008. Illuminations at Lugu Lake: The First Moso Film Festival. A film by Onci Archei, Ruheng Duoji, Feng Weiyang, and Tami Blumenfield.
  • 2004. "Taboo 2: Blood Bonds." National Geographic Television. John Mernit, Series Producer. David Shadrack Smith, Producer. Tami Blumenfield, Field Associate Producer, China segment.

book and FILM reviews

  • 2014. Review of Xiaolin Guo, State and Ethnicity in China’s Southwest (China Studies, vol. 15, Koninklijke Brill NV, 2008). China Review International 19(1): 73-78.

  • 2013a. Review of Emily Chao, Lijiang Stories: Shamans, Taxi Drivers, and Runaway Brides in Reform-Era China (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2012.) The China Quarterly 215 (September): 778-780.

  • 2013b.  Review of Caizhen Lu, Poverty and Development in China: Alternative Approaches to Poverty Assessment (Routledge Contemporary China Series, 2012). Journal of International and Global Studies 4(2): 133-136.

  • 2011. Film Review: The Fall of Womenland (Xiaodan He, 2009). News and Reviews: Educating About Asia Through Film 41 (Summer 2011). Asian Educational Media Service.

  • 2010. Review of Terence Wesley-Smith & Jon Goss, eds.  (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010), Remaking Area Studies: Teaching and Learning across Asia and the Pacific. Asia Pacific World 1(2).

University of Washington, 2010
University of Washington, 2006
Oberlin College, 2000

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