This research investigates 1) how Yunnan Nationalities Museum and Yunnan Nationalities Village depict and construct ethnic minority identity and 2) how ethnic minorities from Yunnan reflect on the depictions of their ethnicity at these locations. Using Micheal Baxendall’s theory of museums serving as educational institutions, secular temples, and treasure houses I interpret both the roles that these locations play as well as the significance this gives to the minorities they represent. I also use Katja Muller’s theory that museum objects can have an emotional aura to interpret the connection or lack of connection my contributors felt to each location. I argue that the presence of aura and emotional connection to an object leads to an interpretation of authenticity and therefore a positive evaluation of the location where the object is located.


Frese, Pam

Second Advisor

You, Ziying


Sociology and Anthropology; Chinese Studies


Chinese Studies | Museum Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Yunnan, Ethnicity, Museums, Aura

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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