In case anyone was interested…

April 23rd, 2009

The THP Family video that I referenced and showed a clip of during my presentation is here.

The Yin Tsang video “Welcome to Beijing” (which I find quite catchy) is here.

And if you are super interested in seeing some interviews (translated of course) by Angela Steele of Chinese Hip Hop artists themselves…. see HERE. (I particularly like/find interesting and useful the What is Hip Hop?, Chinese Educational System, and the Foriegners ones.)

Reaction to Final Day of Class

April 23rd, 2009

I can’t believe how quickly this semester went. I guess the fact that we didn’t meet several times a week really made this class seem to be a speeding flash of light which is now gone.

I enjoyed the last day of presentations, moreso once mine was over. Again I was amazed by the vast variety of topics that our class produced a plethora of information about. From tattoos and hip hop to AIDs and Chinese Nationalism, to environmental, to village government, to film…. we covered all the bases. I think the eclectic nature of these projects is really what made them so interesting.

In most cases when I am subjected to listening to presentations for entire class periods I have trouble staying awake. I think the choice to give us 10 minutes was perfect. It is enough time to delve slightly into the topic, and get people interested, but not too much to have the audience nodding off or feeling like they are being lectured at. As a presenter it was a good amount of time to have as well because it wasn’t too nerve racking – ten minutes goes quickly when you have as much information as all of us did to complete our papers.

I enjoyed the use of primary sources in the presentations – particularly the photos and videos, which to me at always better than a quote or text of any kind.

I can’t say it enough- I am highly impressed by our class presentations.

Update on my project

April 18th, 2009

I know its late in the game to give an update but I recently had a breakthrough  (just in the nic of time to write my minimum of 10 pges by Tuesday). As I was reading the countless sources that I have accumulated, I realized that the majority of the text that I have been able to find, and have been referred to, has been on Chinese Rock.

As I may have mentioned to some of you in class, I was starting to think about paralleling the two movements and discussing them in that light together. I am doing this for my project and one particular article made this all click for me – Jeroen de Kloet’s “Popular Music and Youth in Urban China: the Dakou Generation. As I reread this source with my new focus in mind, I noticed that some of the main distinctions that de Kloet was making about Chinese Rock were also true for Chinese Hip Hop. From there I have determined that the two movements parallel each other quite nicely and are developing with the same issues at hand – they are both predominantly youth cultures, they both had to negotiate with govt. censorship, and they both were greatly influenced by Western culture (mainly the US).

I can’t tell you how good it feels to finally have a direction. I have been getting a little worried. I also finally got in some ILL requests that have been perfect.

Presentations So Far

April 18th, 2009

I have been really impressed by what our class has come up with so far. The topics are so diverse that it really makes presentation days interesting and eclectic.

I thought that the Homosexuals in China topic was very interesting – I don’t really think about how the gay community is accepted in other cultures, but it is important to realize how far the US has progressed in the last few decades in regards to tolerance and acceptance of homosexuals and bisexuals. I was interested to know that there is a conference for this purpose as well.

The environmental movement in China is also a topic that struck my fancy. I was interested to find out that often there are preliminary measures taken and publicized simply to quell the rising concern for carbon emissions etc. I think it is particularly interesting that China is behaving like a purely money driven state – sort of makes me think what is the US really doing to help with environmental issues?

Both film studies were very interesting to me as well. I completely understand their struggles with finding translations and source material (as I am dealing with that/have been dealing with that for the entirety of my project). I thought it was interesting how film could play such a large propoganda role in China – especially since the focus was on women and their rights. Painting women as strong only to support communist ideals blows my mind a little bit. And in the second case, painting women as strong characters who at the very end sacrifice themselves out of weakness also bothers me greatly. Both very interesting studies though for sure!

More later… I really agree with Aislyn that these presentations have been top notch. I have learned a lot from them and I can tell that everyone has worked very hard on their research this semester.

3rd Grade Elections

April 1st, 2009

The film from last night’s class really puts the term “democracy” into question for me. Is a democratic vote so easily swayed by bribery? I think the point to remember here is that while these are 3rd graders running for hall monitor, there are definite paralells to actual politics. Negative campaigning – pointing out the flaws of opponents, debate sessions, campaign promises, rhetoric (Cheng’s dictator vs. manager speech), and politics behind the scenes were all a part of this process.

Some things I found shocking were: 1. the lack of teacher involvement, particularly during the debates when the children were just naming each other flaws. 2. the overinvolvement of parents – who in the case of the winner, used bribery to win classmates votes. 3. that the result of the vote put the same harsh little boy in charge as previous years when they didn’t have a vote. one would think that if he beat his classmates and pulled their clothes, his classmates wouldn’t reelect him.

Overall I felt this was a very interesting film.