Shanghai was our last stop in China, and I was unable to post a blog about our experiences before we flew home. As the largest city in China, Shanghai (the city) is home to as many people as Florida (the state). Not only do about 20 million people call the city home, but Shanghai is currently hosting World Expo 2010, which is averaging about 500,000 visitors A DAY. Needless-to-say, Shanghai was crowded, particularly in the places which tourists frequent.
Television is a funny medium. It brings us together through shared viewing experiences, and it isolates us in a pool of light in a darkened room. We look to the ubiquitous box for information, forgetting that what we see is produced and edited to fit a format. What we receive is someone’s creation.
Most days find me at my desk at the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College. Currently I am preparing to travel to China as part of a long-standing faculty exchange between Grinnell and Nanjing University. Faculty from Nanjing come to Grinnell to conduct research and to instruct our students in Chinese language. Faculty from Grinnell travel to Nanjing to conduct research and to teach in their areas of specialty.
In a series of meetings I have had last year with the larger Grinnell family — including open office hours, lunches with faculty and administrators, and conversations with students — the single most popular question has been some variation of “What is the College doing about environmental and sustainability issues?”
Posted by: Lesley Wright
State Rep. Scott Raecker, a Grinnell alumnus, has introduced a bill in the Iowa Legislature to sell a painting, Jackson Pollock's "Mural," owned by the University of Iowa Museum of Art in order to create a fund to pay for scholarships for art students.
Here is the letter I sent to Representative Raecker explaining why I think this is a terrible idea.
Dear Representative Raecker,
In the U.S., we often hear about the scale of projects and economic growth in China, but from a distance and with only our own scale of reference, it's difficult to grasp. Even here in central Nanjing, with new skyscrapers and shopping malls under construction in seemingly every block, the feeling is similar to that of redeveloping areas in Chicago, or New York, or L.A. It's impressive, but woven into the fabric of the energy of a city at perhaps a hyper-level from what we have come to expect.
Our lodging is at the far end of Nanjing University campus. The campus is divided into the dormitory area for the students (and we live in this part of campus) and the academic and teaching area. Hankou Road runs through the middle of campus and divides the two sections. Several times a day we walk through the dorms and see the students going about their daily lives.