Distinguished Speaker series

“Weddings in Shanghai: Performing Happiness and Re-Verticalizing Kinship," talk by Deborah Davis, Yale University

Time: Sept. 24, 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Location: White Hall 112, 201 Dowman Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322

Free and open to the public 

Weddings in Shanghai are often lavish and involve multiple rituals from early morning tea ceremonies to raucous toasting displays at evening banquets. However, close observation of the ceremonies and extended interviews with brides, grooms, and their parents reveal much more than a competitive display of conspicuous consumption. Rather close study of the multiple performances of gratitude and devotion  document both the enduring centrality of filiality and newly intensified vertical ties of affection and loyalty between parents and their adult only child.

About the speaker

Deborah Davis is a Emerita Professor of Sociology at Yale University and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai  as well as on the faculty at the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University.  At Yale she served as Director of Academic Programs at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, Chair of the Department of Sociology, Chair of the Council of East Asian Studies,  and co-chair of the Women Faculty Forum. In 2013 she was awarded the Yale College Lex Hixon ’63 Teaching Prize for Excellence in the Social Sciences.  Currently, she serves as a Trustee of the Yale China Association, Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Universities Service Center for Chinse Studies at CUHK, and on the editorial boards of The China Quarterly and The China Review.

 Past publications have analyzed the politics of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese family life, social welfare policy, consumer culture, property rights, social stratification, occupational mobility, and impact of rapid urbanization and migration on health and happiness. In 2014 Stanford University Press published Wives, Husbands and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China, co-edited with Sara Friedman. Her current research has two foci. One with Professors Pierre Landry (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Juan Chen (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) investigates the causes and consequences of uneven urbanization for residents of Chinese cities and the second analyzes the social consequences of the one child policy and market reforms on marriage and urban kinship among Shanghai residents born after 1980.