This project has taken me from the United States to China to Australia and back, and the book would never have emerged without the endless stream of encouragement from family, friends, and colleagues near and far. First and foremost, I am deeply inspired by and indebted to Nelson H. H. Graburn, who taught me that a little bit of enthusiasm goes a very long way. He has never let me forget that tourism matters. William Schaefer offered his time and suggestions on everything from writing to how to take pictures more seriously. Liu Xin challenged me to think critically about the fundamental assumptions of my research, and Chris Berry generously provided resources, contacts, and guidance. Wanning Sun mentored my research as it expanded in new directions. My writing has benefited in countless ways from Stevan Harrell’s input, and his work on ethnicity and rural life in China shaped my own thinking from early on. The encouragement I received from colleagues, students, and the anthropology office staff at Emory University helped bring this book to completion.
In China, I thank Yang Hui at Yunnan University, who first supported my project and whose unflagging energy and dedication to promoting anthropology in China continues to inspire. Peng Zhaorong provided me with countless introductions in the field, and Xu Ganli was a constant source of ideas in Guilin. Zhang Xiaosong facilitated many important contacts throughout Guizhou. In Guiyang, Guilin, Kaili, Kunming, and Beijing, I depended upon many old and new friends for places to sleep, rides, meals, and conversation. I most regret that I am not able to share this book or my film with Yang Kun, who taught me so much about the city of Kunming and the art of filmmaking. I am truly lucky to have been his friend. Finally, I am forever thankful for the friendship of the residents of Ping’an and Upper Jidao villages. They have accepted my presence and my questions as just another part of life’s unpredictable changes, and for that I am utterly grateful. This book is dedicated to the individuals and families who welcomed me into their homes and lives.
Over the years my thinking has benefited enormously from the perceptive comments and questions of audiences at the Australian National University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Duke University, Emory University, Haverford College, the 2013 Irmgard Coninx Foundation Berlin Roundtable on Transnationality, Kanazawa University, Macquarie University, National University of Singapore, University of California–Berkeley Tourism Studies Working Group, University of Pennsylvania, University of Sydney, University of Victoria, and the University of Western Sydney. Portions of this work were presented as early drafts at the Society for Visual Anthropology’s 2008 Visual Research Conference and at annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association and the Association for Asian Studies.
More specifically, I am thankful for the insights, advice, generosity, and inspiration from Mayling Birney, Ben Blanchard, Tami Blumenfield, Alexis Bunten, Carlo Caduff, Charles Carroll, Cindy Chang, Susette Cooke, Jennifer Deger, Devleena Ghosh, Maris Gillette, Samantha Goodner, Guo Jing, Yingjie Guo, Zeynep Gürsel, Joyce Hammond, Jonathan Hassid, He Xiaoxun, He Yuan, Christina Ho, Stephanie Malia Hom, Li Xin, Jen Lin-Liu, Peter Little, Ling Liu, Lü Bin, Luo Yifang, Dean MacCannell, Yasmine Musharbash, Pál Nyíri, Tim Oakes, Goldie Osuri, Ou Chou Chou, Michael Peletz, Luke Robinson, Noel Salazar, Erynn Sarno, Louisa Schein, Graeme Smith, Julie Starr, Rachel Stern, Liv Stutz, Margaret Swain, Jessica Anderson Turner, Chris Vasantkumar, Eileen Walsh, Leslie Wang, Wang Xiaomei, Wang Yu, Monique Wollan, Xu Wenkun, Yi Sicheng, Zeng Han, Li Zhang, and Zhong Jian.
Earlier versions of parts of this book have appeared previously in “The Internal Expansion of China: Tourism and the Production of Distance,” in Asia on Tour: Exploring the Rise of Asian Tourism, edited by Tim Winter, Peggy Teo, and T. C. Chang (New York: Routledge, 2009), 207–20; “China’s Campaign for Civilized Tourism: What to Do When Tourists Behave Badly,” Anthropology News (November 2010), 41 (8): 14–15; “Know Yourself: Making the Visual Work in Tourism Research,” in Fieldwork in Tourism: Methods, Issues, and Reflections, edited by C. Michael Hall (New York: Routledge, 2011), 209–19; and “The Appearance of the Rural in China’s Tourism,” Provincial China (2011) 3 (1): 60–79. A shorter version of chapter 3 was published as “Leave the Fields without Leaving the Countryside: Modernity and Mobility in Rural, Ethnic China,” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power (2011), 18 (6): 551–75. Figure 1.5 appeared in “2008 AAA Photo Contest Winners and Finalists,” Anthropology News (March 2009), 50 (3): 23. I would like to acknowledge the publishers for permission to use these materials.
My analysis of Chinese historical ethnographic films in chapter 1 first began as a coauthored paper, written with John Alexander, whose critical insights on documentary and ethnicity have been greatly influential on my own thinking. At the University of Washington Press, I thank Lorri Hagman for her encouragement and support for this book, as well as Jacqueline Volin and Tim Zimmermann for their assistance with publication details both large and small. Ellen Walker created the map, and Amy Smith Bell provided meticulous copyediting. I am also grateful for the extensive comments and critiques on the manuscript provided by Stevan Harrell and one anonymous reviewer. Of course, all mistakes and omissions are my own.
Financial support for research and writing came from the University of California–Berkeley, and in particular the Department of Anthropology, the Graduate Division, the Institute for East Asian Studies, and the Center for Chinese Studies; a Fulbright-Hays research award; the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; and the University of Technology, Sydney. I also acknowledge generous additional support from Emory College of Arts and Sciences and the Laney Graduate School in the form of a faculty subvention, and a grant from the Association for Asian Studies First Book Subvention program.
My family has visited me in every place I have ever lived, and I am certain that my interest in travel stems from them. Heartfelt thanks go to my parents, Amy and Shiu-Shin, as well as to Sandy and Steve, for always coming to visit no matter how long the flight or how short the trip.
And for everything, I thank John, my partner in life, love, and travel. With him, these years have been the best kind of journey imaginable, and I am so glad that we are in it together.