Research Projects

Daoism, Ethnic Identity and State Socialism: the Lanten Yao on the China-Vietnam-Laos Borderland

(Funded under General Research Fund Scheme 2018 – 2019 Exercise, Research Grants Council, Hong Kong)

Principal Investigator

David A. Palmer, Associate Professor, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Department of Sociology

Total Fund Awarded

HKD 849,572

Project Duration

36 months

Project Description

This project will investigate the role of Daoism in the interaction between local society and the state, in the case of borderland ethnic minorities. The research will focus on the Lanten Yao ethnic minority, which straddles the borders between Laos, China and Vietnam, and for whom Daoist ritual and cosmology are at the core of collective organization and culture. An international team of scholars specializing in the three countries, combining expertise in anthropology, history and Daoist studies, and mastery of the relevant languages and dialects (Lanten, Chinese, Lao and Vietnamese), will collect ethnographic, textual and oral history data to construct a systematic description of the ritual traditions of the Lanten Yao minority, and compare their evolution and socio-political role in an ethnic community that straddles the borders of three socialist regimes.