Nanjing is not one of the biggest cities in China. Despite a population of over 7 million, it has a modesty about it. The traffic though congested, flows along in a civilized way, a sort of ballet between cars, bikes, scooters and pedestrians. There are flashy shopping areas, but they aren’t enormous. Most everything is on a reasonable level, a human scale. Anything edgy or provocative is kept under wraps.
This week, our host department, the Office of International Cooperation and Exchanges at Nanjing University, provide a full-day tour of Nanjing, complete with driver and guide. Our guide was a Nanjing native, a 25 year-old masters degree candidate in Linguistics named Yuan Yuan, but who asked us to call her Vivian. Most Chinese students whom we have met have an English name, which Vivian says they typically adopt in middle school as they are learning English. So one of the students in my class, Wang Li, is Lily, another of our assistants, Jia Shi, is Cici, and our very capable program as
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. The exchange is over 20 years old and has forged strong ties between Grinnell and one of the great universities of China.
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.
For all of you out there faithfully following my blog, you may have noticed that some older posts have just reappeared as new posts. I am working with wonderful advisors back at Grinnell on sorting out some issues with the blog, and as either of us goes back in to an old post and makes edits or adjustments, that post then becomes a "new" post. I apologize for the confusion!