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“A Wildly Weird And Wonderful Event”, 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

“A Wildly Weird And Wonderful Event”

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

For updates and insights on the 2010 Expo, one of the first places we turn isShanghai Scrap, where Shanghai-based writer Adam Minter has been following the story for almost two years. Minter’s Expo posts cover topics such as the emergence of Haibao (September 2008), the renovation of the Bund (December 2009) and demolition of neighborhoods (October 2009), and an ongoing in-depth investigation of the twisted saga of the U.S. pavilion (most recent posthere; full archive here). Minter also has an article and slideshow about the Expo atThe Atlantic. In the wake of last Saturday’s opening ceremony, we posed a few …


Expo Stories: Trying To Keep Up From Afar, 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Expo Stories: Trying To Keep Up From Afar

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

When the first World’s Fair, the Crystal Palace Exhibition, took place in 1851, it did so amidst much breathless talk of a new technology of communication that was capable of sending information across vast distances at incredible speed. That then novel but now very old “new media” invention was the telegraph, which inspired commentary much like that we’ve heard recently regarding the Internet. And it is thanks to the wonders of that newest of new media, the Internet, that I have been able to follow the final lead up to and first days of the 2010 World Expo from afar, …


Shanghai Illuminations: 1890-2010, 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Shanghai Illuminations: 1890-2010

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

As I’ve noted in previous blog posts, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately giving talks about my new book, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. And as followers of my blog posts also know, the 2010 Expo is one of the many topics addressed in that book, where I treat it largely, as an excerpt that went online a week ago illustrates, in terms of its connections to the 2008 Beijing Games. Right now, though, I’m at Yale for a conference and preparing to give a joint presentation with Rebecca Nedostup that focuses on …


In Case You Missed It: Fractured Rebellion, John Gittings 2010 School of Oriental and African Studies

In Case You Missed It: Fractured Rebellion, John Gittings

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

A group of former Red Guards at Beijing’s Qinghua University, interviewed in spring 1971 about their recent factional struggles, laughed loudly (always a sign of uneasiness) and made their “frank confession”: yes, they had not always behaved in a spirit of proletarian comradeship, they admitted. “We used to sit on either side of the table and agree to make up our differences, but even while we shook hands we were kicking one other under the table!”.


Blogging Aas 2010 (5), Miri Kim, Charles Wheeler 2010 University of California, Irvine

Blogging Aas 2010 (5), Miri Kim, Charles Wheeler

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

In this panel, organized by Siyen Fei (University of Pennsylvania), Mark Edward Lewis (Stanford University), Hilde De Weerdt (University of Oxford), and Fei presented papers that creatively engaged the work of G. William Skinner on how to conceptualize empire in time and space. Lewis proposed that the northern capital historically functioned as a peripheral center that connected the agricultural and economic centers found further south with the steppe, and this positioning, a prime concern of the dynasties founded by nomads, helped maintain China as a coherent empire. De Weerdt used social network analysis to mine Song dynastybiji for data that …


Blogging Aas 2010 (4), Graham Sanders 2010 University of Toronto

Blogging Aas 2010 (4), Graham Sanders

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

This panel attempted to think through a number of issues related to gossip and rumor in traditional China. Paola Zamperini of Amhest College presided over the affair in truly breathtaking Edwardian piratical style. Incisive comments were provided by Robert Hymes of Columbia University. Hymes asked the question of whether or not gossip was normative or subversive, suggesting that there was very little in any of the papers that could be taken as a subversive reading of gossip. Rather, gossip in each case tended to affirm or reaffirm normative social hierarchies and values.


Blogging Aas (3), Miri Kim 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Blogging Aas (3), Miri Kim

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

This intellectually and visually stimulating roundtable was chaired by Carma Hinton (George Mason University) and focused on the legacy of China’s socialist past in China’s not-quite-so socialist present. I’d like to think I took good notes, but this was a session very rich in materials and ideas (and excellently managed time-wise, which means things moved along at a brisk pace), so apologies in advance for any errors or omissions.


Bloggers’ Breakfast At Aas, 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Bloggers’ Breakfast At Aas

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

It’s become a tradition for China Beat contributors and friends of the blog to assemble at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting (as well as at the American Historical Association’s meeting) for a “bloggers’ breakfast” that provides China Beatniks the chance to get together and meet face-to-face — often for the first time, since so much of our business is conducted via e-mail. Last Saturday morning, we gathered at a Starbucks near the AAS conference site and talked about China, writing, and many other topics over coffee and pastries. A couple of photos from the AAS 2010 bloggers’ breakfast:


What I Read On My Summer Vacation (Part Ii), Kate Merkel-Hess 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

What I Read On My Summer Vacation (Part Ii), Kate Merkel-Hess

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Moving across the country (from Irvine, California to State College, Pennsylvania) meant that most of my books—even the new ones—spent the summer packed in boxes. But alongside a rapid inhalation of all three Stieg Larsson novels, I still did a little China reading. Here, a few recommendations.


What I Read On My Summer Vacation (Part I), Maura Elizabeth Cunningham 2010 National Committee on U.S.-China Relations

What I Read On My Summer Vacation (Part I), Maura Elizabeth Cunningham

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

As the end of summer vacation quickly draws near, we at The China Beat have been talking about what we read during our break from the academic grind. The summer provides an opportunity to catch up on books we missed, check out some more eclectic choices, and even read ahead when publishers are nice enough to share advance copies of forthcoming titles. Rather than just keep these conversations in-house, we decided to write up short “book reports” on some of the China-related works, both new and old, we’ve been enjoying during these summer months.


If You Can Read Chinese, Read This E-Journal, Xujun Eberlein 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

If You Can Read Chinese, Read This E-Journal, Xujun Eberlein

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

The new issue of Remembrance (<记忆>) continues to review Mao’s Last Revolution (by Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals; Chinese translation can be found here). The four articles in issues 55 and 56 discuss the book from different angles, with thoughtful comments and legitimate questions. All are well worth reading.


Anhui’S Barefoot Aids Doctors, Annie Ye Ren 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Anhui’S Barefoot Aids Doctors, Annie Ye Ren

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

For the past four years, I have periodically worked with a Chinese grassroots HIV/AIDS non-governmental organization (NGO) that serves children in Fuyang Prefecture, Anhui Province. The Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association (AOS)gives aid directly to local communities, addressing local needs that are often overlooked or underfunded by large-scale government projects.


My Cousin, Zhang Lijia 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

My Cousin, Zhang Lijia

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

My cousin died in Nanjing shortly before his 56th birthday this September, killed by multiple myeloma, a rare and nasty form of blood cancer.


Reading Round-Up: October 31, 2010, 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Reading Round-Up: October 31, 2010

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

Today’s reading round-up is in a somewhat different format from the one we generally use: instead of just listing links, we’ve first grouped our reading recommendations around two broad topics that have been in the news lately, then included some stand-alone stories at the end.


Why I Support Liu Xiaobo’S Nobel Peace Prize, Wang Chaohua 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Why I Support Liu Xiaobo’S Nobel Peace Prize, Wang Chaohua

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

What does a Nobel Peace Prize stand for politically? We probably can’t take the written words of Alfred Nobel himself and of the awarding committee at face value. In the past century, the prize has stirred up numerous controversies. For example, a war-mongering, coup-conspiring politician like Henry Kissinger was chosen to be honored, leaving the rest of the world with jaws dropped and the winner himself reluctant to revisit the moment in public. After all, the prize was decided and awarded by a committee of five retired politicians. In addition, no matter how politically balanced each of the actual committee …


Here, There, And Everywhere: Upcoming Events, 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Here, There, And Everywhere: Upcoming Events

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

If you have a bit of free time, check out one of these China-related talks around the world this week and next:


A Tale Of Three Mega-Events, Jeffrey Wasserstrom 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

A Tale Of Three Mega-Events, Jeffrey Wasserstrom

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

What can we learn, about either the People’s Republic of China or India and about what makes the two countries similar to and different from one another, by placing recent mega-events in these two young nation-states side by side? As a China specialist who watched the Beijing Olympics from afar with great interest in 2008, spent a month in Shanghai last summer while it played host to the 2010 World Expo, and is now nearing the end of his first stay in India, which took place in an autumn week that began right after the Commonwealth Games had concluded, I’ve …


You Can’T Make An Omelette With Only One Egg, Vignesh Pillai 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

You Can’T Make An Omelette With Only One Egg, Vignesh Pillai

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

In her book Egg on Mao, Denise Chong chronicles the life of Lu Decheng, a seemingly ordinary man who committed the very extraordinary act of vandalizing Mao Zedong’s portrait during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. At the heart of the book is an exploration of morality under Communist rule in the Hunanese village of Liuyang, beginning with the lead-up to Lu’s birth in 1963, his formative years, his involvement in the 1989 protests, and his incarceration. Chong draws her narrative both from interviews with Lu, who now lives in Canada, and from interviews she conducted in China in April and …


In Search Of Remembrance: Jia Zhangke’S I Wish I Knew, Ken Kwan Ming Hao 2010 University of Nebraska - Lincoln

In Search Of Remembrance: Jia Zhangke’S I Wish I Knew, Ken Kwan Ming Hao

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

In his new film I Wish I Knew, a documentary on Shanghai, Jia Zhangke recreates once again, after a detour of sorts with Useless and24 City, that wonderful tension between the biographical and the historical, the primal impetus of his art, that had made Platform,The World, and Still Life, his best films, so memorable. Jia is different from all other well-known mainland Chinese directors, be they of the 5th or 6th generation — his is a singular sensibility that is aware of but not chained to the social-political, which to him are meaningful only to the extent that they are …


China, In Dim Light, Pierre Fuller 2010 University of California, Irvine

China, In Dim Light, Pierre Fuller

The China Beat Blog Archive 2008-2012

On a train moving across north China last year, a girl, blond hair reaching down to her waist, maybe 15, darted past my bottom perch in the hard sleeper. As much as her hair, it was the colorful ankle-length dress she wore that caught my eye, the kind I’d spotted on girls in places like rural Utah and Nevada. I could have sworn I’d seen an apparition, but settled anyway back into my book.


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