‘Superb Achievement’ in Ethnographic Writing

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Anxious China’ is a fascinating exploration of the new power of psychological thinking and therapy in China. Rich with comparative insights, the book greatly broadens our cross-cultural understanding of the effects of psychological thinking for concepts of the self and sociality and for the maintenance of political power in postsocialist China. — Emily Martin, professor emerita of anthropology, New York University

Professor Li Zhang’s book on the rise of Western-style psychological counseling in China received honorable mention in the Society for Humanistic Anthropology’s 2021 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing competition.

Anxious China offers an in-depth ethnographic account of how this unfolding “inner revolution” is reconfiguring selfhood, psyche, family dynamics, sociality, and the mode of governing in post-socialist times.

Zhang’s book is “a superb achievement and marks an outstanding example of the some of the best ethnographic writing today,” said Petra Rethmann, an anthropologist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and other members of the Victor Turner Prize committee.

The committee received more than 110 submissions for this year’s prize. Books were judged on their quality of writing, depth of engagement with ethnographic material, and intellectual contributions to the field of anthropology and ethnographic genres.

Zhang researches cultural, spatial and psychological repercussions of market reforms and postsocialist transformations in China. She also received awards for her books In Search of Paradise: Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis (Cornell University Press, 2010) and Strangers in the City: Reconfigurations of Space, Power, and Social Networks Within China’s Floating Population (Stanford University Press, 2002).

Kathleen Holder is a content strategist in the College of Letters and Science. Contact her by email or phone, 530-752-8585.

The UC Davis Books Blog, a project of News and Media Relations, announces newly published books by faculty and staff authors, and awards and events related to books by faculty and staff authors. Contact the books blog by email.

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