Junjie Chen, a doctoral student in Anthropology with a concentration in Gender Relations in International Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is from China. He has three degrees in Sociology from Beijing University (B.A., 1990; M.A., 1993; and Ph.D., 1996) and is the author of a book, "Guanxi" Resources and Chinese Peasants' Non-agriculturalization: A Field Study in the Village of Yue in Eastern China (1998) and twenty publications on China's demography and population issues in Chinese journals such as Population Research, Social Sciences in China, Sociology and Social Survey, and Collection of Women's Studies. Mr. Chen held a teaching position at Beijing University from 1991-1995. He has won Best Published Paper Award from Population Research in 1997; he also won awards for Outstanding Thesis at every level of his studies at Beijing University and has received numerous other honors .His current research is on the effects of China's birth control policy at the village level. He is particularly focused on understanding the perspectives of the villagers themselves, especially of women. Specifically, Mr. Chen will examine the tensions between the rapid changes associated with China's one-child policy and its effect of sustaining the traditional, patriarchal gender system. He plans to study reproductive strategies and childrearing practices in rural China among Han populations. His broad historical and demographic knowledge as well as his perspectives from the anthropology of reproduction and gender will combine to help him analyze the multiple layers of meanings that reproduction holds for Han villagers in contemporary China.
Mr. Chen will test out the viability of the project this summer (2002), before working to develop it into a full-scale dissertation project over the next academic year. He is well aware of the personal challenges facing a male researcher aiming to work primarily with women about reproductive issues. He is extremely sensitive to the needs of others and plans to work with one or two local female research assistants in the interviewing process. Mr. Chen says, "As a male anthropologist, I am committed to deconstructing the stereotyped notion regarding women's and gender studies as a "woman's job" through my active participation. I hope my in-depth exploration of women's and gender issues rooted in daily life will not only draw scholarly attention, but will also provide practical suggestions for the improvement of women's lives and the attainment of gender equality in rural China."