Pictures from Daqitou, Foshan, Guangdong (廣東佛山大旗頭)

Early this summer, we visited Daqitou (大旗頭) in Leping (乐平镇), Foshan (佛山) in Guangdong Province (廣東). It was a bit of an expedition. We took a subway to the end of a line, then a bus, and then changed to another bus. For us, anyway, it was worth it. It is a nicely preserved cluster of homes in traditional architecture. The preservation work still seems to be ongoing.

The gallery of my 大旗頭 photos is here.

Here’s a few samples:

 

Pictures from Xidi, Lucun, and Hongcun in Huangshan, Anhui (安徽黄山的西递村,廬村,宏村)

We recently spent a day in the Huangshan area in Anhui. We didn’t have an opportunity to see Huangshan itself. We visited three historic villages: Xidi, Lucun, Hongcun (西递,廬村,宏村). Unfortunately, we only had a few hours each for these lovely and well-preserved villages. Nonetheless, they’re fascinating. I made up a gallery with a selection of my favorite pictures from all three villages, or you can see links to the individual village galleries below.

The first village we visited was Xidi. Here is the full Xidi gallery.

The next village we visited was Hongcun (宏村), which may be the most famous of the three villages. Here is the Hongcun gallery.

And finally, last but not least, there was Lucun (廬村). Here is the Lucun gallery.

Summer 2014 China Multigenerational Panel Dataset Workshop at SJTU (English announcement)

The 4th China Multigenerational Panel Dataset Workshop
Shanghai Jiaotong University, Minhang Campus
Shanghai, China

July 14-25, 2014

中文版

The Center for the History and Society of Northeast China at the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Humanities will hold its 4th summer China Multigenerational Panel Data workshop from July 14 to July 25.

The workshop will focus on introducing the China Multigenerational Panel Datasets (CMGPD) as sources for the study of demography, stratification, and social and family history. These include the China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Liaoning (CMGPD-LN) and the China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Shuangcheng (CMGPD-SC).  The CMGPD have been released via the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Science Research.  The latest versions of the CMGPD document are available for download.

The CMGPD datasets have many unique features that make them useful not only for the study of Chinese population, social, and family history, but for the study of demographic, social and economic processes more generally.  Their features also make them useful as testbeds for researchers developing novel quantitative techniques.  The datasets are longitudinal, multi-generational, and structured at multiple levels, including the individual, the household, the kin group, the community, the administrative unit, and the region.

UCLA Professor of Sociology Cameron Campbell will be the primary lecturer. Guest lecturers will include Distinguished Professor and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology James Lee; Yuxue Ren, Professor of History at Shanghai Jiaotong University; and Dong Hao, PhD student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

This class is intended to 1) introduce researchers to the CMGPD datasets and help them decide whether they may be useful in their own studies, 2) give current users an opportunity to learn more about the origin and context of the data, and 3) give participants basic instruction in the use of STATA to describe, organize and analyze the data.   Researchers who have already started using the CMGPD-SC or CMGPD-LN are welcome to attend and take advantage of the opportunity to discuss any questions they may have with Lee, Campbell, and others who were involved in the creation of the dataset.

Lectures and discussion will focus on 1) the historical, social, economic and institutional context of the populations covered by the data, 2) key features of the data, and 3) potential applications.  There will be optional sessions to introduce the Training Guide and demonstrate basic procedures for downloading the data from the website and loading it into STATA.

Please note that while there will be basic instruction in the use of STATA to organize and analyze the data, this is not intended as a class in STATA, or introductory statistics. Students looking specifically for instruction in STATA, statistics, or data management are encouraged to look elsewhere. Again, the class is intended for participants who want to assess whether CMGPD is suitable for their research interests, or are already considering the use of the CMGPD and seek basic instruction in the use of STATA to manipulate and analyze it.

The workshop will include daily exercises to introduce key features of the data, and STATA techniques for taking advantage of these features. Participants will also complete a small project of their own design using the data and present it on the last day of the workshop.

If any non-Chinese speakers enroll, the lectures will be in English.  If the participants all speak Chinese, lectures may be in Chinese, or a mixture of English and Chinese.  Discussion will be in English and Chinese.

The Shanghai Jiaotong University Center for the History and Society of Northeast China was established as a research unit by a collaboration of the Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) School of the Humanities and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) School of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Datasets

China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Liaoning (CMGPD-LN)

The CMGPD-LN is an important dataset for the study of China’s family, social and demographic history, and for the study of demography and stratification more generally. The dataset is suitable for application of a wide variety of statistical techniques that are commonly used in social demography for the analysis of longitudinal, individual-level data, and available in the most popular statistical software packages. The dataset is distinguished by its size, temporal depth, and richness of detail on family, household and kinship context.

The materials from which the dataset was constructed are Shengjing Imperial Household Agency household registers held in the Liaoning Provincial Archives. The registers are triennial. Altogether there are 3600 of them. We transcribed a subset of them to produce the CMGPD-LN, which spans 160 years from 1749 to 1909. At present, the dataset comprises 29 register series, and consists of 1,500,000 records that describe 260000 individuals over seven generations. The CMGPD-LN is accordingly an important resource for the study of historical demography, sociology, economics, and other fields.

The CMGPD-LN and associated English-language documentation are already available for download at ICPSR.

China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Shuangcheng (CMGPD-SC)

The CMGPD-SC covers communities of recent settlers in Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang in the last half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. It contains 1.35 million records that describe 100,000 people. The registers cover descendants of urban migrants from Beijing and rural migrants from neighboring areas in northeast China who came to the area in the first half of the nineteenth century as part of a government organized effort to settle this largely vacant frontier region. One of the distinguishing features of this dataset is the availability of linked, individual-level landholding records for several points in time. The data also include a rich array of other indicators of household and family context and socioeconomic status.

Pending release of the CMGPD-SC through ICPSR, the data are available for download here.

Information

Dates
Monday, July 14, 2014 to Friday, July 25, 2014

Location
Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Humanities (SJTU Minhang Campus, Shanghai)

Application deadline
May 1, 2014

See link below to download application

Application procedure

Please send your personal statement, curriculum vitae, and application form (English or 中文) as attachments to chinanortheast@gmail.com.

Applications from faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are welcome. Applications from graduating college seniors will also be considered if they have already been accepted into a graduate program beginning fall 2014.  In that case, the application should include a copy of their graduate school acceptance. Any other interested parties should contact our staff at chinanortheast@gmail.com before applying to see if they will be considered.

Participants should be able to speak or read Chinese or English.  No prior experience in statistics, demography, or Chinese history is required.  Applicants must explain the reasons for their interest in the data in their application, and should demonstrate that they have background, experience or interests that in some way are relevant.

Participants who are Chinese nationals will have accommodations. Participants who are not Chinese nationals will receive assistance with arranging accommodations, and will receive a housing subsidy to help offset their costs. Participants who want other accommodations will have to arrange them on their own and will be responsible for all associated costs.

Participants should bring their own computer.

Students are responsible for all travel and local expenses, health care expenses, and other incidentals. Participants coming from abroad are strongly encouraged to confirm that their health insurance offers international coverage, or purchase travel health insurance.

Participants who are not Chinese nationals will need to obtain visas. We will issue invitation letters to facilitate the visa application. We strongly urge that accepted participants who need visas begin the application process as soon as possible after they are notified of their acceptance.

At present we expect to be able to accommodate 25-30 participants.

Links

Required Reading

Read the following before the workshop begins.  The highest priority are the specified pages in in the CMGPD-LN and CMGPD-SC User Guides.

Documentation

The documentation below is available here.

  • CMGPD-LN User Guide.  English pages 1-54, 90-96 or Chinese pages 13-64, 96-101.  Skim the descriptions of variables to look for ones that may be relevant to your research.
  • CMGPD-SC User Guide.  English pages 1-47. Again, skim the descriptions of variables to look for ones that may be relevant to your research.
  • CMGPD Training Guide. Pay particular attention to the sections at the beginning that introduce the data and highlight its distinctive characteristics.

Research Articles

  • Campbell, Cameron and James Lee. 2002 (publ. 2006). “State views and local views of population: Linking and comparing genealogies and household registers in Liaoning, 1749-1909.” History and Computing. 14(1+2):9-29.  http://papers.ccpr.ucla.edu/papers/PWP-CCPR-2004-025/PWP-CCPR-2004-025.pdf
  • Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron Campbell, James Lee, et al. 2004.  Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press.  Published in Chinese as 托米·本特森,康文林,李中清等. 2008. 压力下的生活:1700~1900年欧洲与亚洲的死亡率和生活水平. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. Translated by 李霞 and 李恭忠.  Appendix A.
  • Campbell, Cameron and James Z. Lee. 2011. “Kinship and the Long-Term Persistence of Inequality in Liaoning, China, 1749-2005.” Chinese Sociological Review. 44(1):71-104.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23596557

Review Articles

  • 康文林 (Cameron Campbell).  2012.  “历史人口学 (Historical Demography).”  Chapter 8 in 梁在编 (Zai Liang ed.) 人口学 (Demography).   北京:人民大学出版社 (Beijing: Renmin University Press), 233-265.

Select one or two of the following research articles based on your own interests (or another published article that uses the CMGPD), and read before the workshop starts

  • CHEN Shuang, James Lee, and Cameron Campbell. 2010. “Wealth stratification and reproduction in Northeast China, 1866-1907.” History of the Family. 15:386-412.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21127716
  • Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron Campbell, James Lee, et al. 2004.  Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press.  Published in Chinese as 托米·本特森,康文林,李中清等. 2008. 压力下的生活:1700~1900年欧洲与亚洲的死亡率和生活水平. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. Translated by 李霞 and 李恭忠.  Chapter 10.
  • Wang Feng, Cameron Campbell, and James Z. Lee. 2010. “Agency, Hierarchies, and Reproduction in Northeastern China, 1789 to 1840.” Chapter 11 in Noriko Tsuya, Wang Feng, George Alter, James Z. Lee et al. Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press, 287-316.
  • Chen Shuang, Cameron Campbell, and James Z. Lee.  Forthcoming.  “Categorical Inequality and Gender Difference: Marriage and Remarriage in Northeast China, 1749-1912.”  Chapter 11 in Lundh, Christer, Satomi Kurosu, et al. Similarity in Difference.

Software

If you are not familiar with STATA, prepare for the workshop by reviewing as many of the materials for learning and using STATA at UCLA IDRE as possible. You are also strongly encouraged to watch video tutorials at the STATA website. Ideally, by the time you arrive at the workshop, you should already be able to  carry out very basic operations in STATA such as loading and saving files, creating tabulations and so forth. Do try to download the CMGPD-SC or CMGPD-LN and make sure you know how to load them and carry out very simple operations.

Recommended Reading

  • As much of the User Guides and Training Guide as you can.
  • 定宜庄, 郭松义, 李中清, 康文林. 2004. 辽东移民中的旗人社会.  上海:上海社会科学出版社.
  • Lee, James and Cameron Campbell. 1997. Fate and Fortune in Rural China: Social Organization and Population Behavior in Liaoning, 1774-1873. Cambridge University Press.
  • 李中清,王丰.  2000.  人类的四分之一: 马尔萨斯的神话与中国的现实:1700-2000。  三联·哈佛燕京学术丛书。(English: Lee, James and Wang Feng.  1999.  One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Reality, 1700-2000.)
  • Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron Campbell, James Lee, et al. 2004.  Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press.  Published in Chinese as 托米·本特森,康文林,李中清等. 2008. 压力下的生活:1700~1900年欧洲与亚洲的死亡率和生活水平. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. Translated by 李霞 and 李恭忠.

Tentative Schedule (at Onedrive)

Acknowledgements

Preparation of the CMGPD-LN and accompanying documentation for public release via ICPSR DSDR was supported by NICHD R01 HD057175-01A1 “Multi-Generation Family and Life History Panel Dataset” with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Preparation of the CMGPD-SC and accompanying documentation for public release via ICPSR DSDR was supported by NICHHD R01 HD070985-01 “Multi-generational Demographic and Landholding Data: CMGPD-SC Public Release.”

The CMGPD summer workshops in Shanghai have been supported by Shanghai Jiaotong University, the School of Humanities, the Department of History, and the Center for the Society and History of Northeast China.  We are also grateful to staff at a variety of campus units at SJTU for their logistical support.

Discussion of One Child Policy on RTHK Radio 3

Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion on the future of the One Child Policy on the show Backchat on RTHK Radio 3.  RTHK is public radio here in HK, and Radio 3 is there English language service.

The panelists were Stuart Basten at Oxford, Kerry Brown at the University of Sydney, Shaun Rein at China Marketing Research, and of course yours truly.  I thought the discussion was very high quality, and covered a lot of ground.

The show is available online, broken into two thirty minute halves: http://programme.rthk.hk/channel/radio/programme.php?name=radio3/backchat&d=2013-12-03&p=514&e=242059&m=episode The first half starts about 30 minutes into the first (8:30-9:15) link, and finishes with the second link (9:15-9:30).

This was my first time in a radio studio. I was struck by how quickly the hosts could shift from their regular voice during conversation in breaks, to their ‘radio voice’ once the light came on.  And of course it is always amazing to me that anyone can make it through so many spoken sentences without an awkward pause, an “Uhhhh”, “Well…” or some utterance.

English proficiency and college admissions in China

I was interested and somewhat pleased to see that recently, there has been some discussion of lowering or eliminating the weight attached to English scores in college entrance exams in China. The Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report blog has a nice discussion of what has been happening: http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/11/07/learning-english-may-be-losing-its-luster-in-china/

Much of the commentary I have seen adapts either a practical or nationalistic interpretation. The practical terms revolve around the idea, probably correct, that many people will in fact have no need for English after they finish college. The majority of college graduates are in fact unlikely to end up in that involve contact with English-speaking foreigners, or reading English language documents. Accordingly, it doesn’t make sense to make English language ability a key criterion for entrance into college. I tend to agree with this. It doesn’t make any more sense to consider the English language ability of applicants to college in China than it does to consider the Chinese language ability of applicants to college in the United States. This is especially compelling because I think the sort of preparation that students do in order to maximize their score on the English section of the gaokao necessarily leaves them with a practical mastery of English that would be useful in routine interaction. Even worse, for the vast majority of students who in fact don’t go on to jobs after graduation that require use of English, whatever they learned for the gaokao will have been wasted.

It seems to me that it would make much more sense to eliminate the English portion of the gaokao completely, and offer intensive instruction in English only to students in majors where it will benefit them. While it may be that speaking a foreign language without an accent requires learning it before puberty, for most people, it won’t really matter if they speak English with an accent or not. Why not save intensive English instruction for top universities whose graduates are most likely to use English, or for students in second or third tier universities in majors that may lead to jobs where they are going to use English.

One way or the other, it seems like it would make sense to do some fine tuning and take an evidence based approach to deciding who would benefit the most from English language instruction, as opposed to the current one size fits all approach that pressures all students to learn enough English to do well on the gaokao, regardless of whether or not they will ever use English after they finish college.

The commentary I have seen that interprets the reduced or eliminated emphasis on English in college admissions as some kind of symbol of rising nationalism seems silly. There may or may not be increasing nationalism in China, but I am not sure that a decision to downgrade the importance of English in college admissions has anything to do with it. As I noted above, there are all sorts of practical reasons to reduce the emphasis on English. Refocusing education on a native language that people will actually use and de-emphasizing a foreign language that many will never use isn’t nationalism, it is common sense.

I think, however, that there is a third reason to think the reduced emphasis on English is a good idea: equity. I don’t have any evidence at hand to back this up, but I would hazard a guess that among the various things that one could imagining testing students on, English language ability might very well be the most heavily influenced by parental social class. I would suspect that among all of the subjects that parents could spend money on for after-school lessons or tutoring, English language performance is probably the most responsive. Again, I don’t have any evidence to support this, but I suspect that progress in English, like progress in any foreign language, is fastest when students have the sorts of skilled teachers and intensive instruction that are available to families with money. And of course, children who have upper middle class parents who already speak and read English, or who have the money to send their children abroad during the summer, will be especially advantaged.

Leaving the issues of after school instruction and parental English language ability aside, I would guess that urban/rural and school differentials in the quality of English language instruction are much more extreme than differentials in the quality of instruction in math, Chinese, science, or other subjects. Schools may not only differ in whether they offer any English at all, but in what kind of teachers they can hire. Rural elementary schools may not even offer English language instruction, while elite primary schools in major Chinese cities may very well have native speakers with teaching credentials teaching students from an early grade. The depiction of elite middle and high schools in Beijing in this Washington Post article is especially suggestive of the sorts of growing gaps in the quality of instruction across schools: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-china-parents-bribe-to-get-students-into-top-schools-despite-campaign-against-corruption/2013/10/07/fa8d9d32-2a61-11e3-8ade-a1f23cda135e_story.html Conversely, we were recently in the countryside and happened to visit an elementary school in a village, and the principal told us that there was no English instruction there.

Thus for both practical and equity considerations, I am supportive of the idea of reduced emphasis on English language ability in college admissions. In an ideal world, college admissions would be based on the aspects of student performance that are least sensitive to parental social class, and most reflective of the student’s own ability and potential. I don’t know enough about the relevant literature to know what subjects those are. But again, I would hazard a guess that differences across schools in the quality of instruction in math, science, and a variety of other subjects are much less extreme than differences in the quality of English language instruction. And I would also suspect that after school tutoring, summer camps, and other expensive activities have much more effect on English language scores than they do on other kinds of scores.

I realize of course that there are all sorts of reasons for criticizing the gaokao, and considering alternatives, but in the meantime, it seems that anything that might reduce the influence of parental socioeconomic status on performance on the gaokao is to be welcomed. I have some ideas about the gaokao, but they are related to some other ideas I have about college admissions in general, in China and the West, and I will leave that for another blog post.

 

The future of marriage in China

Reading Leta Hong Fincher’s CNN piece on changes in women’s attitudes about marriage in China reminded me of a prediction that I have been making for the past two or three years to anyone who will listen:

Within a decade, marriage patterns in mainland China will resemble those everywhere else in East Asia, with high proportions of women marrying late or not at all. Similarly, high proportions of men, especially poorly educated ones with poor economic prospects, will be unable to marry. This is already happening in Beijing, Shanghai, and other prosperous cities. Based on what happened in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan after 1990 or so, I am guessing the changes, when they occur, will be sudden and dramatic. These changes will be much larger and more important than any of the ones associated with imbalanced sex ratios at birth, and would occur even if the sex ratio at birth were normal.  More speculatively, I expect that mainland China will continue to resemble other East Asian societies in terms of having very low rates of non-marital childbearing. As proportions married collapse, the fertility rate will fall even further.

When I look at what is happening in mainland China right now, and what has happened elsewhere in East Asia, this all seems obvious.  All of the factors that seemed to be associated with rapid marriage change elsewhere in East Asia seem to be present in mainland China right now: dramatic and rapid economic and social change, rising levels of female education, changing patterns of inter-generational relations,  and changing expectations about career and marriage on the part of both young men and women.

One piece of indirect evidence suggests that there is pent-up demand or at least curiosity about the possibilities associated with delaying marriage, at least for women: at least according to Joy Chen’s website, the Chinese version of her straightforwardly titled book Do Not Marry Before Age 30 seems to be selling well.   I haven’t read the book and probably never will since I am not part of the target audience, but it is refreshing to see someone writing a book that is the exact opposite of the usual nonsense offering women advice on how to bag a man, on how to avoid spinsterhood, and so forth.

Nevertheless, many observers, Chinese and foreign, seem wedded in some vague way to a notion that ‘tradition’ will somehow prevent the same changes taking place in China that took place elsewhere in East Asia.  ‘Tradition’ and ‘cultural values’ did not serve as a bulwark against marriage change elsewhere in East Asia in the last two decades, so I don’t understand why they would prevent change in China now.  Indeed they have not done much to prevent changes in marriage patterns among young adults in China’s largest and most developed cities, notably Beijing and Shanghai, where the average age at marriage is already high, and the proportions of people marrying are falling.  ‘Tradition’ and ‘culture’ may help us understand why specific phenomenon persist to the present, but they have a terrible track record of predictors of future behavior.  Sometimes this assumption of continuity is explicit, but in many cases it is implicit, for example, in the assumptions about marriage preferences that demographers simulating the effects of sex ratio imbalances build into their projection models.

The best example of how useless tradition is as a predictor of future trends is probably the recent rise in divorce rates in China.  Rates of divorce in China used to be very low.  Most people, including myself, assumed that they would remain low, because of ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’ that encouraged unhappy couples to remain married.  Yet when China changed divorce laws around a decade ago to make it easier to divorce, rates skyrocketed.  Low divorce rates apparently had more to do with institutional and legal barriers than with any ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’ that discouraged divorce.  Rapid increases in divorce rates elsewhere in East Asia over the last two decades were similarly unexpected.

Somewhat perplexing for me is the continuing concern on the part of pundits and academics about a topic that for me is a not much more than a side issue: the potential effects on marriage of imbalanced sex ratios at birth.  This is not to dismiss concern about imbalanced sex ratios at birth.  There are many important reasons to be concerned about imbalanced sex ratios at birth, not the least of which is what they reflect about gender attitudes.  However, I think the effects of imbalanced on sex ratios on marriage patterns will turn out to be fairly small because the affected cohorts will be coming of age at a time when much more dramatic shifts in marriage patterns are occurring.  No matter what the sex ratio of births is or was, the numbers of men and women not marrying is probably going to increase dramatically.  While some of the men who do not marry might be unmarried because of the imbalanced sex ratio, many more will be unmarried because none of the single women are willing to marry them, or they themselves choose not to marry.

As to the implications of what I think will be a very rapid shift in marriage patterns in mainland China, I can only speculate.  It certainly won’t be a disaster.  Other places in East Asia seem to have experienced these rapid shifts in the last decade or two without collapsing.  I would guess that twenty-somethings in China will spend more and more of their time working, spending time with friends, and pursuing individual interests, and less and less time meeting and assessing potential spouses.  And I suspect that as elsewhere in East Asia, members of senior generations will finally realize the world has changed, and stop pressuring their adult children, nephews, and nieces to find a spouse and have children.  As I noted earlier, in light of the very low levels of nonmarital childbearing in China, the most important effect of delayed or foregone marriage there may be further reductions in the birth rate.

I would certainly like to see commentators, journalists, pundits, academics, and policymakers acknowledge the possibility that marriage may change rapidly.  At the very minimum, demographers should allow for a wider range of possibilities for marriage preferences when they run projections to examine possible impacts of imbalanced sex ratios.  If we’re lucky, the degrading and artificial term ‘sheng nv’ will be banished from the language, and will no longer be used either by domestic commentators, or foreign journalists who uncritically accept the term as an organic one and reuse it, even though it was actually coined and put into widespread use as part of a systematic effort to belittle unmarried women.  Best of all would be accommodation on the part of the government, commentators and senior generations to the changing reality, and abandonment of efforts to pressure young people, especially women, into marrying by a certain age.

Academics and policymakers need to engage in a thoughtful and open-minded assessment of why marriage is changing that goes beyond repeating tired and sometimes offensive platitudes, especially ones about young women having expectations that are too high, or young people in general being too selfish, irresponsible, and consumption-oriented.  The former is especially unappealing because implicitly, it argues that women should be the ones who make sacrifices in order to marry, not men.

Serious consideration needs to be given to the fact that marriage may be unappealing to women because labor markets and household gender roles combine to make the prospect of being a working mother especially unappealing.  In many China, as in many societies, women are responsible for many domestic duties including child care and elder care, even if they are also working.  The financial burden associated with buying a home and paying for a child’s education, meanwhile, make staying at home unrealistic as an option.  Given a choice between remaining a single and working, or being married and working and doing most of the domestic work, remaining single seems an eminently sensible option.

 

Course evaluations from Sociology 181B (Contemporary Chinese Society) in Spring 2013

I just submitted final grades for my class on contemporary Chinese society.  Doing so unlocked the results for my online course evaluations.

Sociology 181B Spring 2013 Evaluations

The response rate this year was 88%, a substantial improvement over the old bubble forms that students filled out in the last week of class.  As in winter quarter, I gave the students who had completed evaluations a small number of points as an incentive.  I was able to do this because when the online evaluation period closes, I receive a list of students who have completed evaluations, though of course nothing about their actual responses.

The response rate is a huge improvement over last spring’s offering of Sociology 181B, in which only 7 of 32 students completed online evaluations.  That quarter was the first in which I used online evaluations, and I didn’t offer any grade incentive to students who completed the evaluations.  Comparison of the response rates between the two offerings suggests that offering an incentive, albeit a very small one, does make a big difference.

Looking at the evaluations, there weren’t many surprises.

Medians on the qualitative responses reflecting general feelings about the course were all 8 (“The instructor was concerned about student learning”, “Your overall rating of the instructor”, “Your overall rating of the class” etc.) and the means were between 7 and 8.  This usually seems to be where I end up.  Maybe I could get means or medians over 8 if I did something really entertaining, like wear period-appropriate costume when talking about different points in time?

As usual, the students completing the evaluations appear to have overestimated their final grades, in the sense that the distribution of estimated grades is (as it always seems) superior to the distribution of actual grades.  I don’t know why this is always the case.  I post scores on assignments, midterm, and so forth, and have a fairly clear scale for assignment of grades.  I’m not an especially harsh grader, but neither am I prone to being as generous as the distribution of expected grades suggests.

The written comments are about what I expected.

Some students find my lectures boring, but  I don’t particularly mind that.  I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that we are supposed to be dancing bears, performing for the amusement and delight of the students.  The students do seem to suggest that my lecturers are clear and well-organized, which is what matters.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make better use of the i>clicker in a course like this.  I liked making use of the i>clicker in my social demography course in winter 2013, because it allowed for quick, anonymous surveys on issues related to population.  For example, when we discussed fertility trends in the United States, I could ask people how many children they hoped or expected to have.  And so forth.  But for a class on Chinese society, I am still wrestling with how to use the I>clicker to animate class discussion.

And I am still trying to figure out how to stimulate more class discussion.  The class was small enough that we could have had more discussion.  There was some, because at least a few students did like to contribute to discussion, but overall it wasn’t what I would have liked.

Another lingering puzzle is the generally low enrollment for a class on contemporary Chinese society.  I would have thought that at a large university like UCLA with a lot of students who have broad, international interests, there would be large enrollments.  In the past, my contemporary Chinese society courses regularly drew 75-100 students.  Lately, however, the enrollments have been lower than I would have liked or expected.  Go figure.

First publication using the CMGPD-LN public release!

Congratulations to Wang Lei at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Labor and Population Economics!  Wang Lei has just published what we believe is the first publication using the public release of the CMGPD-LN that doesn’t have one of us as a co-author: http://www.cnki.com.cn/Article/CJFDTotal-RKJJ201302006.htm The paper is a study of bachelorhood in northeast China in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, taking advantage of the excellent data on marital status available in the CMGPD-LN. It appeared in 人口与经济 (Population and Economics), which is one of China’s major social science journals.

We all expect that this will be just the first of many publications by others that make use the CMGPD-LN.

Here is the full citation for anyone who is interested:

Wang Lei.  2013.  清代辽东旗人社会中的男性失婚问题研究-基于中国多世代人口数据库—辽宁部分( CMGPD-LN) (A Study of Males’ Out-of-marriage in Bannerman Society of East Liaoning in Qing Dynasty: Based on CMGPD-LN).  人口与经济 (Population and Economics).  2013(2):35-43.

And for anyone who is interested, here is a paper we published on male marriage, which Wang Lei was kind enough to cite: http://sjeas.skku.edu/upload/200905/17-42JamesLee-1.pdf

 

Summer 2013 China Multigenerational Panel Dataset Workshop at SJTU (English announcement)

Summer 2013 China Multigenerational Panel Dataset Workshop
Shanghai Jiaotong University
Minhang Campus
Shanghai, China

July 15-19, 2013

中文版

The Center for the History and Society of Northeast China at the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Humanities will hold its third summer China Multigenerational Panel Data workshop from July 15 to July 19.

The workshop will focus on introducing the China Multigenerational Panel Datasets (CMGPD) as sources for the study of demography, stratification, and social and family history. These include the China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Liaoning (CMGPD-LN) and the China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Shuangcheng (CMGPD-SC).  The CMGPD-LN has already been released via the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Science Research.  Data and documentation are already available for download: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/CMGPD/. Chinese language documentation for the CMGPD-LN are available for download here.  Draft documentation for the CMGPD-SC are available for download here.

The CMGPD datasets have many unique features that make them useful not only for the study of Chinese population, social, and family history, but for the study of demographic, social and economic processes more generally.  Their features also make them useful as testbeds for researchers developing novel quantitative techniques.  The datasets are longitudinal, multi-generational, and structured at multiple levels, including the individual, the household, the kin group, the community, the administrative unit, and the region.

UCLA Professor of Sociology Cameron Campbell and Distinguished Professor and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology James Lee will be primary lecturers.  Guest lecturers will include Yuxue Ren, Professor of History at Shanghai Jiaotong University; and Dong Hao, PhD student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

This class is intended to 1) introduce researchers to the CMGPD datasets and help them decide whether they may be useful in their own studies, and 2) give current users an opportunity to learn more about the origin and context of the data.   Researchers who have already started using the CMGPD-SC or CMGPD-LN are welcome to attend and take advantage of the opportunity to discuss any questions they may have with Lee, Campbell, and others who were involved in the creation of the dataset.

Lectures and discussion will focus on 1) the historical, social, economic and institutional context of the populations covered by the data, 2) key features of the data, and 3) potential applications.  Because we have already released a Training Guide that provides instruction on carrying out basic and advanced analysis with the data, this year’s workshop will not provide instruction in STATA, or have computer exercises.  There will be optional sessions to introduce the Training Guide and demonstrate basic procedures for downloading the data from the website and loading it into STATA.

At the end of the week, participants will be asked to make a brief presentation on their ideas for making use of the data.  If participants are already working with the CMGPD, they will be welcome to make brief presentations on their work with it.  There will not be any computer exercises.

If any non-Chinese speakers enroll, the lectures will be in English.  If the participants all speak Chinese, lectures may be in Chinese.  Discussion will be in English and Chinese.

The Shanghai Jiaotong University Center for the History and Society of Northeast China was established as a research unit by a collaboration of the Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) School of the Humanities and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) School of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Datasets

China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Liaoning (CMGPD-LN)

The CMGPD-LN is an important dataset for the study of China’s family, social and demographic history, and for the study of demography and stratification more generally. The dataset is suitable for application of a wide variety of statistical techniques that are commonly used in social demography for the analysis of longitudinal, individual-level data, and available in the most popular statistical software packages. The dataset is distinguished by its size, temporal depth, and richness of detail on family, household and kinship context.

The materials from which the dataset was constructed are Shengjing Imperial Household Agency household registers held in the Liaoning Provincial Archives. The registers are triennial. Altogether there are 3600 of them. We transcribed a subset of them to produce the CMGPD-LN, which spans 160 years from 1749 to 1909. At present, the dataset comprises 29 register series, and consists of 1,500,000 records that describe 260000 individuals over seven generations. The CMGPD-LN is accordingly an important resource for the study of historical demography, sociology, economics, and other fields.

The CMGPD-LN and associated English-language documentation are already available for download at ICPSR, following a free registration. Please visit the website: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/cmgpd

China Multigenerational Panel Dataset – Shuangcheng (CMGPD-SC)

The CMGPD-SC covers communities of recent settlers in Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang in the last half of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. It contains 1.35 million records that describe 100,000 people. The registers cover descendants of urban migrants from Beijing and rural migrants from neighboring areas in northeast China who came to the area in the first half of the nineteenth century as part of a government organized effort to settle this largely vacant frontier region. One of the distinguishing features of this dataset is the availability of linked, individual-level landholding records for several points in time. The data also include a rich array of other indicators of household and family context and socioeconomic status. We anticipate formal public release of the dataset via ICPSR in 2013 or 2014. We will provide participants in the summer class with access to drafts of the release and documentation.

Information

Dates

Monday, July 15, 2013 to Friday, July 19, 2013

Location
Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Humanities (SJTU Minhang Campus, Shanghai)
Application deadline

May 25, 2013

See link below to download application

Application procedure

Please send your personal statement, curriculum vitae, and application form as attachments to chinanortheast@gmail.com.  We will have an English language application form available soon.

Applications from faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students are welcome. Applications from graduating college seniors will also be considered if they have already been accepted into a graduate program beginning fall 2013.  In that case, the application should include a copy of their graduate school acceptance. Any other interested parties should contact our staff at chinanortheast@gmail.com before applying to see if they will be considered.

Participants should be able to speak or read Chinese or English.  No prior experience in statistics, demography, or Chinese history is required.  Applicants must explain the reasons for their interest in the data in their application, and should demonstrate that they have background, experience or interests that in some way are relevant.

Participants will be offered free housing in graduate student dormitories at SJTU.  Participants who want other accommodations will have to arrange them on their own and will be responsible for all associated costs.  Participants should bring their own computer.  Students are responsible for travel and local expenses.  At present we expect to be able to accommodate 25-30 participants.

Links

Required Reading

Please complete as much of the required reading as possible before the workshop begins.  The highest priority are the assigned readings in the CMGPD-LN and CMGPD-SC User Guides.  Once these are complete

Documentation

  • CMGPD-LN User Guide.  English pages 1-54, 90-96 or Chinese pages 13-64, 96-101.  Skim the descriptions of variables to look for ones that may be relevant to your research.
  • CMGPD-SC User Guide.  English pages 1-47.
  • CMGPD Training Guide.  Please review slides 1-40.  Users who have experience or training in statistics should skim the remainder of the training guide and review the examples of the use of the guide.

Research Articles

  • Campbell, Cameron and James Lee. 2002 (publ. 2006). “State views and local views of population: Linking and comparing genealogies and household registers in Liaoning, 1749-1909.” History and Computing. 14(1+2):9-29.  http://papers.ccpr.ucla.edu/papers/PWP-CCPR-2004-025/PWP-CCPR-2004-025.pdf
  • Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron Campbell, James Lee, et al. 2004.  Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press.  Published in Chinese as 托米·本特森,康文林,李中清等. 2008. 压力下的生活:1700~1900年欧洲与亚洲的死亡率和生活水平. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. Translated by 李霞 and 李恭忠.  Appendix A.
  • Campbell, Cameron and James Z. Lee. 2011. “Kinship and the Long-Term Persistence of Inequality in Liaoning, China, 1749-2005.” Chinese Sociological Review. 44(1):71-104.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23596557

Review Articles

  • 康文林 (Cameron Campbell).  2012.  “历史人口学 (Historical Demography).”  Chapter 8 in 梁在编 (Zai Liang ed.) 人口学 (Demography).   北京:人民大学出版社 (Beijing: Renmin University Press), 233-265.

Select one or two of the following research articles based on your own interests (or another published article that uses the CMGPD), and read before the workshop starts

  • CHEN Shuang, James Lee, and Cameron Campbell. 2010. “Wealth stratification and reproduction in Northeast China, 1866-1907.” History of the Family. 15:386-412.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21127716
  • Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron Campbell, James Lee, et al. 2004.  Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press.  Published in Chinese as 托米·本特森,康文林,李中清等. 2008. 压力下的生活:1700~1900年欧洲与亚洲的死亡率和生活水平. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. Translated by 李霞 and 李恭忠.  Chapter 10.
  • Wang Feng, Cameron Campbell, and James Z. Lee. 2010. “Agency, Hierarchies, and Reproduction in Northeastern China, 1789 to 1840.” Chapter 11 in Noriko Tsuya, Wang Feng, George Alter, James Z. Lee et al. Prudence and Pressure: Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press, 287-316.
  • Chen Shuang, Cameron Campbell, and James Z. Lee.  Forthcoming.  “Categorical Inequality and Gender Difference: Marriage and Remarriage in Northeast China, 1749-1912.”  Chapter 11 in Lundh, Christer, Satomi Kurosu, et al. Similarity in Difference.

Recommended Reading

  • As much of the User Guides and Training Guide as you can.
  • 定宜庄, 郭松义, 李中清, 康文林. 2004. 辽东移民中的旗人社会.  上海:上海社会科学出版社.
  • Lee, James and Cameron Campbell. 1997. Fate and Fortune in Rural China: Social Organization and Population Behavior in Liaoning, 1774-1873. Cambridge University Press.
  • 李中清,王丰.  2000.  人类的四分之一: 马尔萨斯的神话与中国的现实:1700-2000。  三联·哈佛燕京学术丛书。(English: Lee, James and Wang Feng.  1999.  One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Reality, 1700-2000.)
  • Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron Campbell, James Lee, et al. 2004.  Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. MIT Press.  Published in Chinese as 托米·本特森,康文林,李中清等. 2008. 压力下的生活:1700~1900年欧洲与亚洲的死亡率和生活水平. 北京: 社会科学文献出版社. Translated by 李霞 and 李恭忠.

Tentative schedule

Acknowledgements

Preparation of the CMGPD-LN and accompanying documentation for public release via ICPSR DSDR was supported by NICHD R01 HD057175-01A1 “Multi-Generation Family and Life History Panel Dataset” with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Preparation of the CMGPD-SC and accompanying documentation for public release via ICPSR DSDR was supported by NICHHD R01 HD070985-01 “Multi-generational Demographic and Landholding Data: CMGPD-SC Public Release.”

The CMGPD summer workshops in Shanghai have been supported by Shanghai Jiaotong University, the School of Humanities, the Department of History, and the Center for the Society and History of Northeast China.  We are also grateful to staff at a variety of campus units at SJTU for their logistical support.