The Final Chapter

By: Connor and Michael

It’s time for us to go. After two amazing weeks in China, we are heading back to the US. Shanghai has had so much to offer us, and everyone found something great to do during our free time in the city. From the tourist shops of Nanjing Road, to the real shops of Huaihai Road, to the cafes of the former French Concession, to the skyscrapers of Lujiazui, Shanghai was not short of fun places to go, and these few days were definitely not enough to see the city. So for many of us, Shanghai will be a repeat destination.

Michael and Piper say hello to the window-washers at the Shanghai World Financial Center Observation Deck, more than 1,500 feet above the ground

Throughout the trip, the China that we found was not always the China we expected. But everywhere we went, we found something worthwhile and new. The mud of the farming village we visited seemed a long way from Shanghai, but we had been there only a few days ago. All of us saw so many different sides of the same country. For those of us who have been to China before, we all leave with a new appreciation for its true scope and diversity. And for those of us who had never been there before, this trip was a whirlwind introduction.

The students of GEA China 2017 raise a toast at the final banquet in Shangha

On our final night, in the cosmopolitan metropolis that is Shanghai, we ended the trip the way we began it. Our GEA team, including Professor Sheehan and his wife, had a banquet consisting of just an absurd enough amount of food to satisfy an army, including dumplings, duck, and a variety of other Chinese dishes. Everyone at the dinner took turns praising one another and toasting Professor Sheehan, culminating in a major group toast at the end. During this intimate dinner, we were offered the opportunity to reflect on our time in China, and in doing so, simultaneously reflect on the growth we experienced, ultimately coming to the conclusion that our growth was fueled by the diversity and adversity we faced together. From the alleys of Shanghai, to the Paul Witt Hotel, to the 100th floor of the world financial center, I can confidently say that Global East Asia China was an experience that we will all never forget.

Shanghai style Shengjian Bao at the final banquet – a (delicious) local specialty

Unfortunately, leaving Shanghai was not quite as easy as getting there. As we split off to go to our various destinations, most of us encountered some sort of weather-related delay. After two weeks of spectacular weather in China, our luck finally ran out, and the Shanghai wet season decided to begin on the day that we were due to fly out of Shanghai. The group headed back to Los Angeles was even stranded on the tarmac for almost three hours — enough time for a movie or two.

This trip has given us a lot – places I never thought I’d go to, friends I’m so glad to have met, and the most satisfying Popsicle I’ve had since I was 6 or 7. But now, as we arrive home and our jet lag begins to do battle with our exhaustion, the only things we can do are to thank the East Asian Studies Center and its incredible staff and teachers for creating such a mind-opening trip for us and to hope that next year’s group has just as great a time as we did.

Signing Off

-Michael and Connor

6/7 and 6/8: Last Day in Zhengzhou and First Day in Shanghai

By: Brianna and Erick
June 7, 2017

In the morning, we went to the Yellow River Scenic Area. It was an interesting experience and we got to ride a hovercraft as a parting gift from our awesome tour guide Johnson and the tourist agency! Thanks! Some members of the GEA team group decided to ride horses and buggies but we got into some heated arguments with the vendor over how much money to pay. Afterwards, we went to lunch near the Zhengzhou East Station before finally saying bye to Henan. Many thought that our last lunch in Zhengzhou was fantastic and tasty! We then headed towards the Zhengzhou East station for our 5 hour long high speed rail ride to Shanghai. During the 5 hour long train ride, everyone found interesting activities to do to pass the time. A good chunk of the team decided to turn the seats around and play card games like Tonk and Sushi Go together, while some of us decided to chat and relax while others watched movies. At around 9:00PM, we finally arrived in Shanghai, the last leg of our amazing journey!

Top: A delicious lunch in Zhengzhou before we leave Henan for Shanghai! Thanks Johnson!

June 8, 2017
The Beginning of the End, or the Start of My Love Affair with Shanghai
As we settled in to our final destination, the reality that our time together was coming to a close started to sink in. Unlike our last stops, Professor Sheehan served as our tour guide of Shanghai, taking us to see the sights of his second home. We visited the iconic skyline of Pudong and the Bund, conducted the last of our fieldwork in the surrounding mall, and visited the massive City God (“Epcot-isized”) temple area with lots of tourist shops and the City God Temple used by Shanghai locals. While honestly, the names of individual locations and stops were difficult to differentiate for this non-Chinese speaker, my overall impression of Shanghai through Professor Sheehan’s eyes is one of a fiercely thriving intersection of culture, history, and economic power that I sincerely hope to return to someday. Many of us concluded our Professor Sheehan-led day in Shanghai by proceeding to follow him into the hotel gym for a GEA workout session. Post-workout (and nap), the GEA squad went out to explore Shanghai at night, returning to see the iconic skyline of the Bund and visiting other local spots. After our introduction to the city that day, we were left to plan how we wished to spend our next (and final) full day in Shanghai. 

Gym selfie with Professor Sheehan (and half of Katie)

The Pudong from the Bund

The Pudong from the Bund that night!

Halfway Through !

Welcome! Biajani and Piper here giving you the lowdown about halfway through our trip! We are loving it!

June 4th, we left Hebi and spent the rest of the day in Zhoukou. On the way out of Hebi, we toured a “ghost city,” a group of tall buildings at the edge of the city which are not occupied yet. The photo below is a few of us at a convention center type of structure in the “ghost city.” Posters on the building indicate they actually had an event in 2013! So, it’s been unused for four years.It was raining when we got to Zhoukou, REALLY raining, so that made our fieldwork and exploring ten times more exciting to navigate as we jumped over massive puddles. After we completed our fieldwork for the day, most of the team met up at the Guandi Temple and it was quite impressive! And they had a student discount which was great 😀 The photo below features HUGE statues, which were very impressive!

The photo below is a shot of the temple, you can kind of see the concrete glisten as the rain poured down! Oh taking this photo is where I found a nice pile of mud, my shoes really liked that!

And finally, the most important photo is us posing like a Korean Boy Band!

June 5 in Zhoukou
Professor Sheehan took us to another popular shopping area where we got to do some more fieldwork. Katie and I, the soybeans, were finally extremely successful in finding both Chinese and western food chain brands in this area. We also almost got run over by two buses while trying to cross the street. There are absolutely zero traffic laws or regulations in Zhoukou! After everyone’s fieldwork and a little shopping, we found our own way back to the hotel and all napped before our class presentations. Everyone has made so much progress on their research and has begun formulating formal theses. Then we had arguably the best group dinner yet! The Piranhas below certainly would agree.

Ursula, Katie, and Edith attacking the best fish we had in China.

June 6
Today we piled on the bus to head for Zhengzhou. But before our final city in the Henan Province, Papa Sheehan showed us the side of China that no tourist has ever seen. We visited a small village where all the people waiting for the fields to dry came out to greet (and take pictures of course) with the foreigners. Some of them were kind enough to let us into their homes. Just like Papa Sheehan acknowledged, their lifestyle was by no means a simple one, and their living conditions validated this truth. After a long-ish drive, we did a lot of fieldwork and walked around the shopping areas. Zhengzhou is interesting because it used to have one of China’s most famous ghost cities with hundreds of unoccupied sky scrapers! Now, though, it is starting to fill up! We had two major examples of globalization today as our whole team ate dinner at McDonalds (and enjoyed it) and I had my usual at Starbucks, a chocolate croissant heated up with a grande whole milk latte (which I loved of course)! You honestly can’t even tell I am in China just by this photo, even the picture on the wall behind me is in English!

GEA China Students with Village Residents

After a great day of fieldwork, exploration,and shopping we went home and packed to get ready for our journey to Shanghai! Woo hoo!

The Apogee of Our Beijing Adventures, Fieldwork in Beijing, and Hebi

By: Kenny and Ursula

Our second full day in Beijing seemed to be very promising—Ming Tombs, Sacred Way, Great Wall of China, and Peking Duck all in one day!

Our first stop was The Ming Tomb Changling as opposed to the Great Wall which is usually scheduled first on tour itineraries. Papa Sheehan made sure our tour guide Lisa made that itinerary change so that we would visit those touristy destinations during their less busy times. Before entering one of the 13 Ming Tombs, Lisa gave us an explanation as to their geographical placement; the Ming Tombs were built according to good feng shui with mountains behind them and a river flowing in front. We had an hour to explore the Ming Tomb, so we slowly explored all the structures that were placed before the burial ground where one of the Ming emperors was buried. Unfortunately, we could not actually get close to the burial site since the Chinese government decided to place fences around it. That being said, we did get to climb a tower that gave us an unobstructed view of the entire tomb site.

The second destination was the Sacred Way. This path was decorated with statues of guards, scholars, and different animals on both sides, and it extended for approximately one kilometer (0.621371 for people in the Miles club). Walking through the Sacred Way was a good way to channel our inner chi and mentally prepare ourselves for the afternoon hike at the Great Wall. It also served as a nice spot for people to get candid shots for their Instagram accounts.

After a quick lunch break, we were finally ready to take on The Great Wall of China. Papa Sheehan likes taking his Global East Asia students every year to a very steep section of the Great Wall called Juyongguan. The good thing about having a challenging section of the wall is that fewer tourists crowd the narrow steps which makes the hike a lot more enjoyable. On the other hand, most human beings who hike to the top will wake up with sore calves the following morning. In all seriousness, hiking the Great Wall was truly an amazing and humbling experience. Don’t mean to brag, but this year’s class broke the record of student percentage that climbed to the top with a whopping 90%!

To wrap up our touristy day, Papa Sheehan took us to eat Peking duck for dinner. The dinner was extra special because we got to celebrate Michael and Ursula’s birthdays! Needless to say, after our special dinner everyone went back to the hotel and slept till the next morning.

We created our own schedule on Thursday with fieldwork and lunch with our Capital Normal students followed by a trip to Silk Street and dinner. Team Little Mermaids went to a fantastic noodles place for Ursula’s birthday (since long noodles represent a long life). After lunch, they took a bus to see the Beijing Film Academy. Instead of arriving at the school, they found themselves at an abandoned film set used during the Communist Era. Meanwhile, Team Huami met up with a new Capital Normal student to eat traditional Beijing food. Then they visited Suning, the largest retailer in China, to check out their smartphone selection. From Suning, they went to an OPPO store. Team PEBs walked around with their students taking pictures of pharmacies and successfully explained the concept of a punch buggy. The Capital Normal students took them to some really yummy Chinese fast food. Team Soybean went to another mall to visit KFC and McDonalds and then had a very authentic snack food lunch as a place with nostalgic decorations. After we finished out field work we regrouped at Silk Street to practice our bargaining skills at the infamous fake goods market.

Early the next morning we piled onto the bus to take us to the train station. The 2 ½ hour high speed train ride flew by given most of us slept at least part of the way. When we arrived in Hebi, our new tour guide, Johnson, took us to the hotel to check in and eat lunch. The hotel was quite an experience from the excessive number of plastic chandeliers to curtain-less, bathtub-less showers. After lunch, we went to the main shopping area. It soon became clear foreigners do not frequently visit Hebi, given the number of stares and photo requests we received. After completing our fieldwork which included visiting bathrooms with “personality,” waking sleeping employees, and a trip to Walmart, we reconvened at a local coffee shop for a game of cards. From there we decided to go to the arcade at the top of the mall. One of the highlights from the trip to the arcade was when a man at the arcade decided to show us how Dance Dance Revolution should be done by getting a near perfect score after dancing with arms and gestures and everything. Being tired out and hungry, we went to have dinner at the food court. The food court had tons of choices. We got noodles, soups, dumplings and flat bread. After a cheap, filling, and delicious meal we decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel for a relaxed night in.

Our First Days in China

By: Edith and Katie

On May 28, at 6:30 in the morning, EASC 360 students started our journey to China! First stop: Beijing. We had a quick layover in Vancouver and some of us enjoyed some delicious A&W root beer floats along with a quick workout!

After that, we finished the longest leg of the trip–a ten hour flight to Beijing. When we landed, we went straight to dinner and enjoyed our first meal in Beijing! Restaurants host large parties with Lazy Susans. That way many plates are served at once and people can easily access them!

After dinner we went to get checked into our hotel. Most of us were ready to unpack and pass out!

Even though everyone was exhausted from our long flight and lack of sleep the night before, we couldn’t just go to bed for our first night in Beijing. We all decided to instead go out enjoy the night! We took the subway to Nanluoguxiang. It was basically a mile long alleyway lined with small shops and cafes. Everyone got ice cream and we all relaxed in an LA-vibin’ place.We were all pretty exhausted after that so we decided to head back before anyone passed out (a few of us almost did!). That night set a high standard for us–to go out and enjoy China as much and as often as possible. We’ve only got two weeks in China, so we have to use every moment we’ve got!

So after we got a full night’s rest, we embarked on our first full day in Beijing. We started the day with a trip to the Forbidden City. We spent an hour walking from the front gate of the city to the back garden, with many stops at the residential areas of the Ming and Qing royal family.

The big group was separated into a few smaller groups to tour the city. One group took a hilarious photo in the garden by the sign that reads “Caution Wet Floor” posing as if they were falling. This group’s great sense of humor was very much appreciated by a group of middle aged Chinese women who asked to take the photo together. And hence the following photography:

In the afternoon, after a mediocre tasting of a tourist meal at a restaurant that is 80% occupied by foreign tour groups, we got dropped off at Wangfujing, which is a famous shopping street at Beijing. At the Apple store, we met our China Normal University students who are helping us with each of our groups’ research for the first time.

For team Soybean, the duo who were assigned to assist our group are both Chinese history majors. They took us to some western chain fast food places and informed us about the perception of these fast food for Chinese people.

After we were done with field work, we met up with the other 2 groups and went to a hutong, which are small alleyways in Beijing. After that, we kept walking and got to the park right across from the Forbidden City where we climbed up a hill to see the whole Forbidden city from above. The building that was built on the top of the hill was also the center point of Beijing.

After the arduous journey of 5 minutes of hill climbing, we went back to Wangfujing’s APM mall for a hot pot dinner. The soup was plain and the sesame sauce that we dipped everything in was delicious. It was a nice ending to our first full day!

Finishing Touches

By: Connor and Michael

We’ll let you in on a little secret: we finished our course material early, and class Friday was cancelled. Since we have all become bonafide experts on China and globalization in record time, we spent most of Thursday learning about the cities in China we are going to visit, and Professor Sheehan invited us to his apartment at Parkside’s Arts & Humanities Residential College to play board games on Friday.

Thursday we got to see the culmination of our journey as a class so far. (*cough* *cough* we had a quiz.) After we finished, we looked back as a class on the toolbox we’d put together regarding globalization and were nearly in awe of how much we had covered in two weeks. We went from not knowing anything about each other and vaguely understanding the macro-cultural process of globalization to being able to break down, analyze, argue, and defend our stances on the diffusion of various global cultures through visual advertisement. Feeling confident now in the preparation of our skills for fieldwork we went on to look at the destinations we would be visiting.

Professor Sheehan took us through a brief overview of Beijing, Shanghai and our journey in between. Sheehan told us about some of his past experiences with GEA and the hilarious antics that followed them around, growing our anticipation. Additionally, we looked at how much China has expanded, grown, and industrialized within our lifetimes and how it continues to do so, essentially changing the face of the country on an annual basis, reassuring us that the experience we are about to undergo is completely unique and original, unlike any GEA trip before us.

Photos above feature the expansion in proposed Chinese subway infrastructure, showing the difference between amount of subways in 1992 vs. 2020. This demonstrates the investment in modernizing China, as well as the continued growth in a variety of cities.

But of course, all that is the less fun part.

Afternoon games and class bonding!

Prof. Sheehan was nice enough to have us over for an afternoon of games and class bonding before we head off to China together. Apparently, he is the board game master of Parkside in addition to the dorm dad, and has a collection of board and card games that would have been enough to keep us occupied for several weeks. Although not everyone was able to come, we had a great time having a relaxed day before our whirlwind trip begins.

Some of the games we played were Atlantis (in which you must save your plastic Meeple from a sinking island without being eaten by sharks or kraken), Guillotine (in which you gain points by beheading French nobles), and SushiGo (in which you pass a hand of cards around the table and each take one card, like a revolving sushi bar). It was a great way to spend time with each other before we are traveling and doing field work (i.e. shopping) in a foreign country where most of us don’t speak the language.

Finally, we’re all leaving for China very early in the morning tomorrow. We’ve had these last few days to pack and prepare, everything from mosquito repellant to a VPN to dodge the censors. The next time you hear from us, we’ll be on the ground in Beijing.


To be continued. . .

Days 7 and 8 (5/23 and 5/24)

By: Breana and Erick
May 23, 2017
Day 7: Hostesses, Harry Potter, and Happy Times

A misshapen Cheese-It found in our snacks today!

Professor Sheehan was kind enough to not give us a quiz today and instead we worked on strengthening how to write a thesis. We analyzed a Chinese Lays potato chip ad directed at the Chinese market, and then divided into groups to write our own thesis for the photo. We also got some quality bonding time with our research groups today and got to discuss more about how we will conduct our fieldwork when we get to China. Also, we got some background knowledge on the history of global interactions and Chinese context in the 20th century.

We also discussed today’s reading on karaoke hostesses in China and how they relate to consumer culture and globalization. The reading was very thought-provoking and everyone had interesting ideas to share. In regards to the reading, we noted how a lot of aspects of hostesses’ lives are contradictory, whether or not being a hostess was inherently good or bad, rural and urban identity, the role globalization plays in the lives of hostesses through the popularity of Korean and Japanese clothing, and much more.

Over the last few days, we have grown closer as a group and some GEA students and Professor Sheehan hung out at night and went to go watch a Harry Potter screening at USC. We all look forward to getting to know each other better and traveling to China together soon!    

5/24/2017 Day 8: The Last Days of Disco

Half of the GEA group missing for a short break

Piper baked cookies for everyone today! They were delicious!

As our time in Los Angeles starts to wind down, everyone is getting excited to travel to China. We started the day off to the catchy tune “Call Me Baby” by K-pop group EXO where we compared the Chinese and Korean versions of the song. The song showed just how globalized the world is today through the existence of two versions of the song- one in Korean and one in Mandarin. Piper was kind enough to bake everyone chocolate chip cookies! While the pile of cookies disappeared one cookie at a time, we looked at how to improve writing a thesis in preparation for our research projects.

The theme of the last two lessons is “Consumer Culture at the Urban Margins” and we discussed how “disco” (the word the Chinese use for going to dance clubs) culture is related to globalization in China. Our reading assignment due today was quite interesting and something not found in any average textbook. We talked about various aspects of “disco” culture and globalization such as how discos are a place to craft individual expression, how discos create a super-culture, how songs with English words are popular at discos, and how discos are places to “be consumed” as well as to consume.


Endings and Beginnings

By: Biajani and Piper
Friday, May 19th

My does time fly!

To start of the end of our week, Papa Sheehan began his lecture on the Chinese context from 1850-1925. During this time period China was plagued with a series of civil and foreign wars, all sorts of different rebellions that I cannot even begin to pronounce. Some of these include the Opium War, Taiping Rebellion, and the Boxer Rebellion. These back-to-back defeats marked a dramatic shift in China’s global position.

Though the lectures are also very fascinating, we ended the class with our undoubtedly favorite part — discussion. We returned to the book we had been reading, Lianne Yu’s Consumption in China. We talked about two more very intriguing chapters on “Lifestyle and “Commodification.” We discussed how one’s consumption is not just a mindless venture but says something about one’s desired lifestyle. The “Commodification” chapter was particularly eye-opening. It opened up a whole new outlook on how we can take almost anything and assign it some monetary value.

The best part about Friday was getting out a little early. Even though, that was only giving us a jump start to work on our papers due Monday. Though we separated, headed home for a weekend of writing, we continued our conversations in our “virtu-real” world. Piper facilitated the creation of our group WeChat, and our conversations have been non-stop ! We finished the week showing so much growth in both our knowledge of globalization and our relationship as a group. I can’t wait for all the fun we are going to have and how close we are going to be by the end of this all!

Here’s all of us with the Dornsife banner! We will soon be taking this same picture on top of the Great Wall !!

May, May 22nd, 2017

Monday’s lecture was about Global Connections between 1925-1945, so we picked up right where we left off from Friday. One particularly interesting topic we highlighted during this lecture was the way the radio changes communications as we knew it during that time. The second part of lecture was discussing the Chinese Context during that time. The conclusion? Let’s just say China was verrrry busy during that time! (As was most every country!)

In class Monday, we continued our discussion on our book, Consumption in China by Lianne Yu. I speak for my entire team when I say we are pleasantly surprised to have this book as one of our textbooks for the class. We all love this book as it provides exciting content, interesting perspectives, effective analytics and is overall easy to read! This makes us all extremely engaged in our discussion each class session as each team member eagerly waits to discuss interesting points they found in the reading! For Monday’s reading we discussed Awareness as Yu refers to it. She used this chapter title to foreshadow her dialogue of the both emerging and descending consciousness of culture and tradition in China.

One thing that fills in our class conversations is logistics about our trip. Today Papa Sheehan gave us the information to get RMB so we had some currency right when we hit the ground on Sunday! (I can’t believe it is coming so soon!!!!!!)  Along with currency, we continue the “are you going to get a simcard?” conversation because that is one thing we are all prioritizing for our trip- communication!

Anyway, a great class of course but Monday was particularly special because we went on a team bonding lunch after class!! We invited Papa Sheehan of course, but he had previous lunch plans. We went to Pizza Studio on Figueroa and took up almost half of the dining area, it was so fun! Our team I can already tell is a great combination for this trip!! We all come from different backgrounds, some of us speak Chinese, some of us don’t (at least 6 out of the 10), but how we come together and help each other is what I am really excited about and have already experienced. We had our first paper due Monday and in it, we analyzed an advertisement to a Chinese audience. Naturally, most of us had Chinese writing on it. For those of us who don’t speak Chinese, this seemed a little intimidating but our teammates who do speak Chinese were so ready to help us!! Teamwork at it’s finest! The best part is, we haven’t even made it to China yet, we are already being set up for success for our awesome teamwork capabilities! Definitely something to cherish during this trip.

Here is a picture of us enjoying lunch at Pizza Studio!


Globalization, Consumption and Team Names

By: Kenny and Ursula

May 17th

Our class began with a practice quiz of a Giant Bike ad, after which Professor Sheehan gave us feedback on things we analyzed well in addition to areas where we missed points. We then started learning an extremely brief history of both globalization and how it interacted with China. The lecture touched on such topics as the Columbian Exchange, trade routes and food drugs (including tea). We are looking at whether or not globalization is new a phenomenon. Different countries have been in contact for thousands of years, multinational corporations are newer and technology like the telegraph even more recent, yet still before the internet. When did globalization start is helping us on the way to understanding what globalization means. It has been interesting attempting to look at the rather vague term, globalization, through an historical lens.

Today, the major development in the course was starting the main course text, Consumption in China by Lianne Yu. This has led to interesting discussions on brand loyalty and identity, hybridity, internet use, status and cultural differences between the United States and China. The conversations are insightful and colorful as we often bring personal experiences and examples into the discussion. As a class, we are definitely starting to learn more about each other. At the end of class, we began to solidify the groups we are going to be working with over the next few weeks.

May 18th

We are almost done with a quarter of our summer course, various concepts in readings are starting to connect with one another, and advertisements seem to carry a lot more messages now than before the start of our Global East Asia course.

We began our class with Katie treating us to some awesome pretzel snacks (thank you Papa Sheehan for having the late-snack policy)! Right after, however, Professor Sheehan gave us our first pop quiz on advertisement/source analysis to even out the good start to our class. All jokes aside, our quiz required us to analyze a Huawei (Chinese cell phone brand) advertisement using the new concepts and frameworks related to globalization and consumerism we learned the past few days. Professor Sheehan very generously prepared us for the quiz the previous day when he gave us a practice quiz and guided us towards the types of analyses we should include in our quizzes and eventually in our final projects. Moreover, the important pedagogical motive behind having quizzes is to train and teach us how to later analyze the advertisements we see during our fieldwork in China.

In terms of our group projects, we got together with our research groups and decided on group names because that is what group projects are all about! We also spent time narrowing down our research topics which entailed picking an industry of interest and finding a potential question we would like to explore. Lastly, we briefly searched for advertisements from our selected industries which are going to serve as the primary sources in our 2 page analytical papers due next Monday.

Update on group projects:

Team Name Members Selected Product/Industry
The Little Mermaids Ursula Collins-Laine, Connor Hudson Hollywood Merchandise
Hua Mi Team Erick Chen, Michael O’Krent, Kenny Lin Chinese Smartphones
PEBs Piper Kristine, Edith Conn, Breana Norris Air Pollution Products
Soybean Biajani McEwen-Lopez, Katie Chak Chinese Food Industry

GEA 2017 Day 1&2

By: Edith and Katie

The first two days consisted mainly of introductions, orientation, and discussion of some basic tools we will use throughout the rest of the program. Day one began with a fun little project: “twitterographies.” This is a made up word by Professor Sheehan; it’s basically your whole life story in 140 characters or less.

We partnered up with people we didn’t know and got to know them before writing two distinct twitterographies which, if read separately, you wouldn’t be able to tell they described the same person. Here’s an example of one of the students: “Freshman studying economies, member of TAO and BSA, tutors crazy stats, looking to work in the food industry #food.” Now here’s another example of the same student: “Soccer watcher and player, The Intern #bestmovieever, loves to travel with fam, can’t wait to go back to China #THIRDtime and try Peking Duck #food #fighton.” The second one goes over the character count a bit, but Professor Sheehan thankfully wasn’t too strict. 

Once we finished introductions we quickly got into orientation which took up a good chunk of time, but was incredibly necessary! Traveling to another country for two weeks isn’t easy! We finally got into the readings towards the last hour of class, and established some tools we would be using from then on. Here’s the list we have from day one:
Eriksen (author): Features of globalization
• Acceleration
• Standardization
• Interconnectedness
• Movement
• Mixing
• Vulnerability
• Re-embedding
What we do with these tools is analyze pictures that emphasize certain aspects of globalization. We figure out, for example, who the ad is marketed to, the main message its trying to convey, and how/if it shows globality. We also learned another tool from our second reading for that day: Invention of Tradition by Hobsbawm. We all agreed that Hobsbawm wasn’t totally spot on with his argument of “invented traditions” versus “real traditions,” as all traditions were invented at one point. But it is an important tool to use when observing traditions in China and in product advertisements.

The second day featured more logistics as we tried to figure out airplane seats and our final paper! But everything will definitely be settled before we leave. Professor Sheehan did a lot more lecturing today before jumping into discussion on the readings. He did some history and geography of China, especially of the areas we will be staying at when we go. Professor Sheehan is a great lecturer, but he should definitely think about a career in game show hosting (I mean look at those awesome pants)!

We also talked about the (vague) concept of globalization and Professor Sheehan gave us a Quick and Dirty Guide to Globalization, which include the following list:

    • Capital flows
    • Global shifts in division of labor
    • Multinational organizations and corporations
    • Increases in wealth combined (usually) with increases in inequality
    • Globalized culture seen in brands, Hollywood, kung fu, fast food, hip hop, anime…
    • International competitions and sports
    • Local resistance and adaptation: “glocalization”
    • Development of an “international language”
    • Media and communication
    • Copying of personal habits (hygienic discipline)
    • Global definition of regulated time
    • Population movements
    • Long-distance trade
    • The movement of germs and viruses
    • The movement of ideas:
      • Religion, nationalism, progress…
    • The movement of technological innovations:
      • New transportation and communications technologies lead to a shrinking of time and space 
    • Adaptation of political structures to international influence:
    • Invasion and conquest
    • International relations
    • Colonialism / imperialism

Lastly, we finally took our group photo! Not one. But THREE.