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Professor Michael Meyer recounts his experience writing about Beijing hutongs

Michael Meyer

CCCI Lecture Series: Professor Michael Meyer (English, University of Pittsburg) - "Covering China from the Ground Up" (October 26, 2015)

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Since first arriving in the country as a Peace Corps volunteer 20 years ago, Michael Meyer has witnessed and written about the transformation of China, at the level of both an urban neighborhood and a remote village.  His award-winning first book The Last Days of Old Beijing documented changes in the daily life in the capital’s oldest neighborhood as the city remade itself for the 2008 Olympics.  In his second book In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China he describes a northeastern rice-growing village as it turns its land over to a corporate agribusiness.

This state-backed transition is the latest massive shift originating in Northeast China. In his talk, Meyer will show slides of contemporary village life in both Beijing's oldest hutong neighborhood and the Manchurian countryside, including the ruins of the Qing dynasty’s Willow Palisade; the world’s last Manchu-speaking village; abandoned Russian-built stations along the Chinese Eastern Railroad; and the “Rising Asia” architectural style of Japan’s puppet state Manchukuo.

Meyer will discuss, too, the line between what you are allowed to do as an unaccredited writer in China, and what you can actually achieve.