Kyle Murphy & Ryan Beringer
“Goodbye Los Angeles!”
It’s the final countdown! Less than 24 hours till we’re in Beijing and we couldn’t be more excited to land! To start off class we listened to some Chinese popular music provided by the amazing Professor Sheehan that was about freedom and individual expression dating back to the beginning of the post-Mao era. After everyone arrived, Professor Sheehan started a discussion about the details of the cities we will be visiting in China. Starting with Beijing and ending with Shanghai, Professor discussed the main sites we will be visiting as well as the means of transportation we will be taking (taxi and subway) and it seems that every city is better networked than LA. In addition to how we will get around in China and the places of interest, we discussed the density of people in the main cities we will be visiting and it was insane to see that Zhengzhou hosted more than 6,000 people per square kilometer, that is one packed city! Professor Sheehan also noted that in the past decade these cities have exponentially grown, boasting populations of tens of millions.
As we discovered, this exponential growth entails some social costs. In previous lectures we discussed how many individuals in China believed there was a moral degradation in their country. In today’s readings, we discussed freedom of sexual expression in both the Disco reading which discussed a young urbanite population in China that looked towards global trends to express themselves as well as the “Clothes Make the Woman” reading which discussed sexual commodification of China’s disadvantaged rural population. With the end of the Maoist era of communism, China developed a huge economic disparity between rural and urban populations. It was evident in the readings that the urban population of China had the choice as to how they want to sexually represent themselves while the rural population of China who moved to the cities lacked this freedom. More specifically, the women moving from rural villages to work in factories were often scammed for free labor and as a result of mounting debt, found their only option was to sell their own bodies.
Lastly, we were given our second quiz of the class that focused on an advertisement for a Chinese domestic car company that advertised directly to Shanghai consumers.