The cultural phenomena or objects that are gloriously listed on the national register of Intangible Cultural Heritage are mostly dispersed in rural villages around China. With “intangible cultural heritage” rapidly becoming a prominent academic topic in China, the relationship between these villages and academia becomes increasingly inseparable. Situated between academia and the village itself, between words and things, intangible cultural heritage is actually the product of dialogues and debates between the academy and villagers, between scholars and rural residents. A community of knowledge production that thematizes and identifies intangible cultural heritage has been born of these dialogues. This analysis, based on the author's village-studies experiences, seeks to reveal the existence of a general knowledge-production mechanism and to improve understanding of the interaction between knowledge production and the objects of research, as well as to assess the changes this process has brought to the cultural ecology of the sites researched.

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