began September 2012
Ying Xu has worked with the preservation of historic religious buildings for almost a decade. Her research interests and goals include a better understanding of the relationship among historic preservation, urban planning, and suburbanization. She has worked at the UD Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD) since 2008 and has focused on traditional technologies and preservation policies of historic buildings in both China and the United States. In 2010, Ying received her Master of Arts degree from CHAD with a research concentration in historic preservation; her thesis “China to Chinatown - Exploring the development, use and meaning of Chinatown in New York” was profiled on the UD website in 2010. While at CHAD, Ying assisted with several US-China collaborative projects. She anticipates joining the Bon Cave Temple Documentation program, a trilateral research project being conducted jointly by CHAD and the Palace Museum (Beijing, China) and the Sichuan Province Cultural Relics and Archeology Research Institute in 2013. Before coming to the University of Delaware, Ying received a B.S. in Architecture from Guangzhou University and studied and contributed to the documentation and restoration of the Old British and Russian Consulates and the Sacred Heart Church in Guangzhou.
Ying passed her exams in July 2015, and her proposal presentation in January 2016, and is now working on her dissertation. Her committee members are Vimalin Rujivacharakul (ARTH), Chandra L. Reedy (CHAD), Alan Fox (Philosophy), and Luo Deyin (associate professor at the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University).
TOPIC: When Historic Preservation Encounters Minorities: Examining the Significance of Historic Architecture and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Bapai Yao
Based on a long-term study in a minority region in South China, Bapai Yao, Ying’s dissertation examines the complex role government-led market-based preservation plays in contemporary Chines society as a strategy to preserve cultural heritage and stimulate economic development in ethnic minority region. It explores the history of the ethnic region in south of China and the position of the imperial authority and how it had impacted local ethnic community. It examines the significance of the architecture that distinguish the Yao’s settlements and architecture from other Chinese, and how these distinct characteristics reflect local cultural traditions. The dissertation addresses the questions of how the government and local community’s negotiation of heritage preservation, rural development and poverty alleviation shape the preservation practices, and how the state preservation policy help minorities to gain access to a social and economic system that is dominated by the majority, while retaining their separate ethnic cultures and identities. The purpose of the dissertation is to demonstrate that in the case examined here, not only do historic preservation projects impact upon culture, but also the minority’s cultural setting that surrounds communities and the way that they enact those settings impact upon historic preservation projects.