M. (Meiwen) Chen

  • PhD student
  • Chinese Studies

Personal Homepage: meiwen.nl

Contact: mwc511@gmail.com

Fields of interest

Ethnic relations, religious culture, gender studies, modern China

PhD research

An Anthropological / Religious / Historical Perspective on the Mien people in the Chinese-Vietnamese Border Area
Supervisor: Barend ter Haar

My research aims to explore the beliefs regarding the Heavenly Flowers Garden, goddess worship, and the roles of women present in Yao societies and some of the surrounding ethnic groups, such as Zhuang, Miao, Dong, Tujia, and She, residing on the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau, Guangdong, Guangxi, and the borderlands of south China and mainland Southeast Asia, whose religious cultures are profoundly influenced by Daoism. This research takes an interdisciplinary approach and utilizes a comparative framework.

Although a significant amount of research has been conducted on the beliefs regarding the Heavenly Flowers Garden, goddess worship, and women’s role in modern China respectively, a synthetic analysis of these three topics is still wanting in current scholarship. Despite this fact, the current research on these three topics concentrates more on Han Chinese societies in Taiwan and Fujian.

Having benefitted from the previous scholarship, the completion of this research will not only extend our understanding about the historical interactions between Han Chinese cultures and non-Han cultures in terms of religious cultures, political influences and the values of women, but will also deepen our knowledge of the trans-regional and inter-ethnic characteristics of Taiwan, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan-Guizhou plateau, and the borderlands of South China and Mainland Southeast Asia.


- M.A. in Anthropology, Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
- B.A. in Religion, Department of Religion, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taiwan

Southern Min (Hokkien) (native), Mandarin (native), English


Chen, Meiwen (2003)  Cong mingming tan Guangxi Tianling Pangu Yao ren de guocheng yu shengming de laiyuan (Naming, Personhood, and the Source of Life in the Iu-Mien [Pangu Yao] Society, Tianlin, Guangxi). Taipei: Tangshan.

Journal Articles
- Chen, Meiwen (2011) Constructed History: Ethnic Yao in Modern China. Leidschrift 26(1): 93-108.
- Chen, Meiwen (2011) Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Tim Oakes and Donald S. Sutton (eds). Lanham, MD: Rowman &Littlefield, 2010. China Information 25: 293-295.
- Chen, Meiwen (2009) Book Review of Asian Borderlands: The Transformation of Qing China’s Yunnan Frontier. C. Patterson Giersch. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006. Taiwan Journal of Anthropology 7(2): 197-200. (in Chinese)

Website Article
Chen, Meiwen (2009) Introduction to Yao. (in Chinese)

Conference Papers
- Chen, Meiwen (2012) Yaoluan de chongxin jieding: Yao liyi shijie zhong de luan, ze yu guan (Redefining the Violence the Yao Experienced: Violence,theThief and the Official in Yao Writings). Paper Presented at 2012 The Annual Meeting of Taiwan Society for Anthropology and Ethnology. 6-7th of October 2012. Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
- Chen, Meiwen (2011) Yao Literacy and the Value of Women: Yao Ritual Manuscripts across Asian Borderlands. Paper Presented at Rombouts Graduate Conference: Globalization and Glocalization in China. 6-7th of September 2011. Leiden Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden, the Netherlands.
- Chen, Meiwen (2009) ‘Between Sacred and Secular: Mien Ceremonial Paintings as Wealth and/or Commodities’. Paper Presented at the SEAA Taipei 2009 conference, Society for East Asian 2009 Anthropology, American Anthropological Association. July 2009, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. Taipei, Taiwan.
- Chen, Meiwen (2007) ‘Integrating Skills, Softening Boundaries: Rethinking Ritual Hierarchies Among Religious Specialists in Southern China and Taiwan’.  Paper Presented at the Sixteenth Annual Graduate Student Conference on East Asia. February 2007. Columbia University, New York, USA.
- Chen, Meiwen (2006) ‘The Preliminary Analysis of Sanjiang Dong’s Relationship Terminology’. Draft Paper Presented at the Closing Session of Writer’s Workshop Directed by Prof. Robert Parkin as Writer in Residence in the Institute of Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University, 31 August 2006, Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Last Modified: 11-12-2015