Looking for Chengdu: A Woman’s Adventures in China

For decades, anthropologist Hill Gates had waited for an opportunity to get to know the citizens of China as she had done in Taiwan-face to face, over an extended period of time. At last in the late 1980s she set out on an excursion to Sichuan Province. That visit was the first of many she would make there on a remarkable double adventure: to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese women and to complete a difficult passage in her own life. Looking for Chengdu is her memoir of these trips. By turns analytic, witty, and bittersweet, Gates’s observations on contemporary China are enlivened by a keen eye for the oddities of human behavior, including her own. - Amazon.com
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Cornell University Press
Ithaca, NY
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Looking for Chengdu by Hill Gates

Field of Interest/Specialty: early childhood, parenting, ESL
Posted On: 07/06/2015

Looking for Chengdu recounts the experiences of an American woman doing academic research on women in China. However, this is not an academic paper but rather an account of the authors interactions with bureaucrats, academics, functionaries, women with bound feet and women running small businesses. In pursuit of her research, the author recounts funny, moving and insightful encounters with Chinese culture. Whether it's describing animal parts served at a banquet, or attempts to determine who gets to sit in the most honored position in a meeting, Gates helps us understand Chinese culture and and unselfconsciously reflects on her own responses. This book could be used effectively in women's studies as well as a resource for understanding Chinese etiquette or development of small businesses following the Cultural Revolution. Gate's last entry was in 1996. One wishes she would return and give us an update.