As the 120th anniversary of his birth approaches this month, Mao Zedong has been reinvented. Shaoshan, the village in Hunan Province where the Chinese leader grew up, has spent over 1.9 billion yuan (about $312 million) to restore his former residence and a nearby memorial plaza, and is planning festivities such as a mass singing of the Cultural Revolution anthem, “The East is Red.”
To conclude my Chinese history lecture course at the University of Kentucky, I introduce my undergraduates to the concept of “soft power” and suggest that Confucius Institutes are emblematic of China’s cultural diplomacy, which aims to project a peaceful image abroad.
One of the wonderful things about studying Chinese history is that the field is so vast, the language so complex, and the contemporary interest so great that I will never be bored. In teaching a course on modern China, one always gets to add to the syllabus.
To launch the second semester of the “Year of China,” the University of Kentucky invited John Kamm, founder and director of The Dui Hua Foundation, to be our keynote lecturer. Like our keynote speaker for fall semester, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Kamm’s career has spanned several decades and his work has also been inspired by the student movement in 1989.
My Thursday afternoon flight from Shanghai to Chicago exhibited a curious phenomenon. United Airlines Flight 836, which went from China to Midwestern America on August 19, 2010, had the most homogenous set of passengers I had ever seen.
Read more at: http://www.thechinabeat.org/?s=Passport+to+the+World.
Many cultural encounters begin with generalizations and limited knowledge of the other. When I tell friends in China that I teach at the University of Kentucky, I am first asked whether I mean the Kentucky of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
At the base of the Oriental Pearl Tower is an exhibition of Shanghai history. The Shanghai History Exhibition Hall (Shanghai chengshi lishi fazhan chenlieguan), created in consultation with the Shanghai History Museum, recreates dioramas of everyday life in the Republican era (1912-1949).
Read more at: http://www.thechinabeat.org/?author=1&paged=17.