Beth E. Notar is an Anthropologist whose research focuses on the intersection of the cultural and the material. This focus has led her to examine the relationship between representations in popular culture, tourism and transformations of place in southwest China; money as a symbolic, economic and political object and cars, taxis and mobility in urban China. While fluent in Mandarin, she is currently learning Burmese and planning a new comparative project on mobility in Myanmar (Burma).
After graduating with a degree in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College, she spent three years in China and Taiwan: studying Mandarin at Beijing University, working as a translator at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and studying Chinese economy and history at the Johns Hopkins – Nanjing University Chinese-American Cultural Center in Nanjing. It was then that she became fascinated with the changes of China’s reform era and decided to pursue research there. She first returned to the U.S. for theoretical and methodological training in Chinese Studies (M.A.) and Anthropology (M.A., Ph.D.) at the University of Michigan.
Notar views research and teaching as mutually reinforcing, and sees learning as an active process which involves discussion, research and writing. For her, Anthropology is crucial for helping students fulfill Trinity’s mission statement to “foster critical thinking, free the mind of parochialism and prejudice, and prepare students to lead examined lives that are personally satisfying, civically responsible, and socially useful.”