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139 Imagining China in Twelve Vignettes Photographs by Jeremy Make Captions by Stephen J. Hartnett “Where I Go When Love Seeps In” Beijing’s hutongs stand among the world’s unique living arrangements. Whereas urban development in China since the 1970s has climbed ever skyward in the form of slick skyscrapers and vertical condominiums, the brickand -mud hutongs sprawl around narrow alleys, twisting lanes, and intimate squares, creating immense, singlestory courtyard neighborhoods designed for communal intimacy and wandering foot traffi c. In some hutongs, neighbors are so closely packed together that they can reach out their windows to shake hands; in this dense network, family quarrels, raucous card games, and the afternoon laundry are public events. As Beijing razes more and more hutongs to make way for new developments, the neighborhoods have become sites of political resistance and intense real estate jockeying. To stroll amid the hutongs on a gentle summer evening, with the bulldozers idling nearby, invites thoughts of generations past, friends present, and hopes dispersed through the latticework of Chinese history. These remarkable neighborhoods indicate how the rhetorical work of imaging the nation is multilayered, embodied, and lived. “Security Monk” For as long as anyone can remember, Buddhist monasteries have been places of spiritual refl ection, philosophical training, and rhetorical debate. Throughout the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, and Gansu, and all across the Tibet Autonomous Region, anyone entering a monastery who says namaste (roughly translated as “may the light in me acknowledge the light in you”) or tashe delek (roughly translated as “peaceful greetings”) might be met with joyous smiles from the monks, who welcome wanderers with questions of dealings abroad. Driven by fear that Buddhism poses a political threat to communism, the Party has sought greater control over the monasteries, in part by placing Party loyalists in the monasteries, where they function less like spiritual guides than political watchdogs. At the same time, the immense popularity of Buddhist sites as tourist attractions means the Party must now simultaneously protect them from bustling crowds eager to consume a part of China’s culture. In this image, taken at the Yong He Gong Lama Temple in Beijing, we see a monk wearing a communication earpiece, thus marking him as a part of his monastery’s security team. In contemporary China, the work of imagining the nation is powerfully linked to questions of faith and spirituality coupled with tourism and consumption. “Tank Woman” In the summer of 1989, the world was transfi xed by the student protests that eventually grew into what some parties called a revolution and what others called a criminal disturbance. After Chairman Deng ordered the People’s Liberation Army to clear Tiananmen Square, and after the army had to fi ght its way from the suburbs into downtown Beijing, killing and injuring untold numbers of unarmed civilians, the heart of Beijing grew still and silent—mourning was in the air. The next day, a column of tanks tried to enter the square, but as they rolled toward Tiananmen, an unidentifi ed man leapt in front of the tanks and became a global icon: the lone individual, shopping bags in hand, dared to defy the military, only to vanish since then into anonymity. “Tank Man” captured the Western imaginary and has come to signify the generation’s lost heroes and the painful memories of what happened in June 1989. This image seems to capture China twenty-eight years later: with stylish running shoes and her arms full of shopping bags, “Tank Woman” walks home along one of Beijing’s side streets, with immense housing units looming behind another wall. And then, just for a moment, she too was in front of the tanks, now celebrated in this mural. “The North Face” As developing countries are fl ooded with new consumer goods, so the daily lives of billions of people have come to embody juxtapositions in which old cultural norms and practices jostle up against the new trinkets, clothes, foods, sounds, and technologies that announce our age of globalization. This man, photographed while relaxing at the Summer Palace, in the leafy northwest corner of Beijing, sports what looks like a classic Mao jacket from the late 1960s, when such military wear was part of the mandatory uniform of the Cultural Revolution. In China today, wearing such a jacket often signals one’s allegiance to and perhaps nostalgia for an old China that was still committed to communism and collectivism. The Summer Palace has in fact become a...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781609175399
Related ISBN
9781611862577
MARC Record
OCLC
1001925113
Pages
501
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-30
Language
English
Open Access
No
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