James L. Watson is the Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University. Professor Watson was the President of the Association for Asian Studies in 2003 and is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is an ethnographer who has spent over 40 years working in south China, primarily in villages. The author of numerous books and articles, his research has focused on Chinese emigrants to London, ancestor worship and popular religion, family life and village organization, food systems, and the emergence of a post-socialist culture in the PRC. In recent years, Professor Watson has investigated the impact of transnational food industries in East Asia, Europe, and Russia and the social consequences of SARS in China.
Today’s talk is, in part, a preview of the jointly authored book that Rubie Watson and I are writing on colonialism, tentatively entitled The Last Colony: Everyday Life in British Hong Kong, 1898-1997.