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.