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  • Writer's pictureGEM LAB

DEW series: Buffalo, Wrangler, Videographer - Vernacular Media and the Afterlives of Bullfights in S

Jenny Chio (Emory University)

February 16, 2016 5pm in FB 630.15 [Global Emergent Media Lab]

Buffalo, Wrangler, Videographer: Vernacular Media and the Afterlives of Bullfights in Southwest China

The business of bullfights, which involves two water buffalo fighting one another, is booming in southwest China. What once was considered a mere pastime in ethnic minority farming villages, in the recent decades of relative economic and social “reform and opening,” bullfights now take place in purpose built stadiums for paying audiences and with sizeable prize monies for the owners of winning animals. The success and prestige of bullfights, moreover, is accelerated by the widespread popularity of bullfight DVDS. Local videographers specialize in recording fights and producing, oftentimes within a few days, DVDs for sale, allowing viewers to live and relive the excitement of a fight. This talk will explore the nexus of participants– the buffalo, wrangler, and videographer – and the mediated afterlife of the bullfight in order to illuminate how vernacular media practices, such as the making, selling, and watching of bullfight DVDs, are constitutive of the contemporary experience of modernity in a rural, ethnic minority region of China.

Jenny Chio is currently Assistant Professor in the Anthropology department at Emory University. More information on her films and publications is available on her website:


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